Building the capacity of economies to produce, access and distribute safe and diversified food is an integral element of food security. Under this theme, CAPSA, in collaboration with its network of partners, coordinates activities that result in better knowledge and understanding of markets, their constraints and opportunities in the region. Emphasis is given to policy options for rural infrastructure, market access, and approaches to strengthen diversification, post-harvest and processing systems for food crops, and value addition. This includes areas such as innovative financing mechanisms to support market infrastructure, to secure legal frameworks, and to gain access to financial and legal services.
Research under this theme will contribute to better understanding of constraints and opportunities for small-scale producers and traders within markets for agricultural products and will provide a synthesis of market innovation options, beneficial policy changes, and other support mechanisms. Focus under this theme will be on research related to global regimes for trade in agricultural products and their impact on poor agricultural households. The need for further research arises due to the fact that the global trade regime in agricultural products is highly distorted and that dynamics in the global market have a major bearing on smallholder agriculture and poverty among the poorest segments of society.
This theme will contribute to the debate about the future direction of change in the agro-food sector; to the connection between food supply chains and sustainable rural development; and to formulating policy recommendations to help overcome the bottlenecks constraints that inhibit development of the market for more sustainable farm products. It is expected that this will result in enhanced capacity on the part of policymakers and senior government officials to design and implement policies for more efficient and equitable markets that allow for the provision of safe food, advance rural development, reduce poverty and ensure food security.