Popular understanding as postulated by Ugandan President Museveni suggests that if the prices of commodity prices go up, farmers should benefit by way of higher income. Morrison Rwakakamba from Uganda, a practicing economist and an active member of the Knowledge Programme on “Small Producers’ Agency in Globalised Markets” argues that while this might theoretically be true, the practice is a bit detached from the theory. He explains that certain structural factors inhibit the farmers from ‘harvesting’ the dividend of high commodity prices.
He suggests that part of the solution could lie in the farmers’ exercising their collective agency to negotiate effectively with the middlemen and traders.
Investing back into the farm to raise its productivity and processing the raw material before selling could be another way to raise incomes of farmers, as per Morrison. President Museveni’s call to focus on the segment of population that is affected by rising commodity prices – read the middle class, is unsubstantiated by the amount the salaried groups spend for example on luxury goods. On the contrary it would appear that the producers would be affected far more adversely by way of lower procurement prices and high cost of goods and services.
The learning network members from various parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America are engaged in research which hopes to generate new insights related to the interactions between the small producers and the (changing) markets.
– Contribution from Hivos website – http://www.hivos.net/Hivos-Knowledge-Programme/Themes/Small-Producer-Agency/News/MUSEVENOMICS-analyzed