Female employment in the export agro-industry can significantly increase primary school enrolment.
Photo: M. Maertens

06.12.2012

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Investments in food supply chains of developing countries are changing the way food is produced and traded, and are causing a rapid spread of so-called modern food supply chains. This has important welfare implications for rural households. The effects can come in various ways, through product and labour markets, and through direct and indirect mechanisms. The author documents these different effects for a case-study of fresh vegetable exports in Senegal.

Over the past decades, the integration of developing countries in global markets has accelerated with increased participation in international trade and growing inflows of foreign direct investment, resulting in swift changes in agri-food systems of developing countries and a rapid expansion of so-called modern food supply chains. These modern food supply chains comprise the production and trade of high-value produce, usually destined for export to high-income markets or for supermarket retail in high-income urban market segments. Modern supply chains are expanding rapidly across developing regions as global trade in high-value agricultural products – such as fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and seafood products – increases sharply and supermarkets mushroom across developing countries. These modern food supply chains are characterised by the use of high standards to govern quality and food safety throughout the chains, high levels of vertical coordination – including contract-farming – in the chains, a high degree of consolidation of the supply base and agro-industrial processing.

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