Big business works with small farmers : the case of the Buabin Oil Palm Outgrower Project
Author(s)Santini, Christina PioCosta-Lahue
Buabin Oil Palm Outgrower Project
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
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Globally, there are about 500 million small farms from which two billion people derive their livelihoods. These farmers face a host of challenges to access both domestic and international markets. This thesis examines the Buabin Oil Palm Outgrower Project as a case of small holder integration into the supply chain of Unilever Ghana, a multinational agribusiness company. In partnership with the public sector, the private sector and a development agency donor, Unilever Ghana is developing 3,000 hectares of oil palm through an outgrower scheme, in which the farmer beneficiaries maintain ownership of their land. I find that the key actors' experiences in the project - even in this early stage, the third year of a five-year implementation phase - demonstrate most importantly that there is not one engineered solution for working with small farmers. Each of the actors' strong motivations but diverse, and sometimes conflicting, agendas combined with logistical challenges require that Unilever Ghana be flexible and adaptable, contrary to the nature of the standardized model of a multinational. I conclude that agribusiness multinationals require a partner, or locally embedded subsidiary, with local knowledge and international development expertise as a facilitator to bridge the gap between standard corporate models and the complexity of working with small farmers.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2009.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 59-64).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.