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Decision and Policy Analysis Research Area – DAPA

Colombian Agricultural Supply Chain Policy: Impacts on Producers’ Competitiveness and Livelihoods

By Rafael Isidro Parra-PeñaElizabeth Minchew & Vail Miller

A Common Goal

Each research project conducted at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) starts with the same mission statement – science to cultivate change. Such a simple yet powerful statement serves as a compass for our researchers, who are constantly re-interpreting and innovating their expertise. CIAT is global – not only in its physical presence throughout the world, but also in its dedication to achieving the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

We work to contribute what we can towards achieving these goals in many ways. CIAT is well known for its laboratory and field sciences, but in Decision and Policy Analysis (DAPA), we engage in thematic areas such as policy analysis, climate change, hunger and gender. In an effort to reach a broader audience, different research areas within DAPA frequently release policy briefs, simple yet detailed accounts of a project’s recent discoveries, achievements or milestones.

The Linking Farmers to Markets team is proud to release the third and final installation in a three-level project founded by the Ford Foundation to analyze supply chain policy effectiveness in the Colombian context. Over the past year, our entire team has engaged at various levels – from project management to field research to communications and policy advocacy. Our final policy brief presents the field component, where we sent several researchers to take a closer look at how Colombia’s supply chain policy played out in the case study of the vegetable supply chain in Boyacá, Colombia.

One Step Towards Ending Poverty

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Get an inside look at tomato producers in Boyacá and how they feel about national supply chain policy in our recently released video.

The basis of this particular project was to evaluate how effective Colombian national supply chain policy is in reducing poverty and promoting inclusive market access. Our experience working with actors at every level – from producers to local government officials to non-profits to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development – has demonstrated to us that this is no easy task. This is not news. However, our collaborative experience in this particular project provides one example CIAT has towards ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Through in-depth surveys with 120 tomato growers conducted over several weeks in 2013, members of CIAT-DAPA’s LFM team collected demographic and livelihood information, supplemented by data on productivity, market competitiveness, and cooperation via involvement in farmer associations. Additionally, surveyors applied the Grameen Foundation’s Progress out of Poverty Index to assess poverty levels.

Written collaboratively by LFM’s Rafael Isidro Parra-Peña (Public Policy Analyst), Vail Miller (Visiting Researcher) and Mark Lundy (Senior Researcher), the policy brief, entitled “Colombian Agricultural Supply Chain Policy: Impacts on Producers’ Competitiveness and Livelihoods” provides four key findings on policy impact on market competiveness, income generation and poverty alleviation. A central goal of the policy investigated was to increase participation of smallholder farmers in local producer organizations.

Research found that producer organizations could contribute to improved productivity, higher incomes and poverty reduction by providing training and building capacity. However, in the case of the tomato producers of Boyacá, comprehensive strategies are needed to address further issues such as marketing strategies and consumer demand – two areas where the policy failed to have a positive effect. Furthermore, research concluded that an availability of knowledge and ability to share information (such as events or available programs) as well as an invested and dedicated local support system, can help support and empower producer associations by expressing farmers’ demands at the national level.

Figure 2 CIAT-DAPA's Linking Farmers to Market's Public Policy Analyst Rafael Isidro Parra-Peña discusses study results in a regional meeting held in Villa de Leyva.

CIAT-DAPA’s Linking Farmers to Market’s Public Policy Analyst Rafael Isidro Parra-Peña discusses study results in a regional meeting held in Villa de Leyva.

The policy brief is a powerful tool – as you can see in our newest publication, we’ve streamlined our extensive research and boiled it down to a digestible but effective product. We’ve integrated statistical information with policy explanations, and complemented these heavier research components by providing local context.

To download the Policy Brief please visit: http://goo.gl/Br05u4

Next Steps

Part of a successful research project is the effective communication of results. With 17 different goals, the UN Sustainable Development Goals must rely on one unifying theme – communication. This does not just entail a detailed project report. It’s vital to remember that different audiences (whether politicians, activists, constituencies or educational institutions. just to name a few) require different communications products. We hope to reach policymakers with our brief, but another example aiming to reach a broader audience is a recently released video called “Cultivando Cambio: La situación de los tomates en Boyacá, Colombia.” As with many of our projects here in DAPA, you can read more about the video in its corresponding blog post:

Visualizing Research: Release of public policy project video

Successful communication does not stop with the mere creation of shareable products – that’s just the beginning. Further dissemination and achieving actual widespread impact depends on the users. We hope that you take the tools we’ve provided below and help us to truly cultivate change and work together to achieving each and every one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals!

Sharing knowledge: Basic tips for social media

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Sample Posts

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Feel free to copy and paste some example posts we’ve crafted below to get started.

Twitter: “Final #policy brief released by @CIAT_DAPA LFM team provides local context to #policy analysis in #Colombia LINK* #CGIAR_DD @UN_DSD”

* Use http://tinyurl.com/ to shorten the link to the post you’d like to share.

Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn: “Latest #policy brief from @CIAT’s Linking Farmers to Markets team released – presents case study of Colombian tomato producers in policy analysis research. One more step towards achieving #SustDev @UN_DSD (LINK) #Colombia #supplychain #research #smallholders #marketaccess #cgiar_dd”.

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