Collective action for agricultural marketing
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Kassie, G. T. Asnake, W. Haile, A. Getachew, T. Wamatu, J. 2020. Collective action for agricultural marketing - Training manual. International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: ICARDA.
Farm households conduct their day-to-day activities individually and in groups in a synchronized manner. Labor demanding activities such as ploughing, and harvesting are usually undertaken with a group of individuals whenever the situation allows. In addition to agriculture, saving and credit, funerals, and festivals do involve gatherings of selected group of people with favors reciprocated more often than not. Farm households in rural Ethiopia have rich experience with group efforts including cooperatives, iddir, senbete, wonfel, debo, and equb. These formal and informal institutions can all be considered as collective actions although in some cases these institutions are imposed upon the communities. One area where the role of collective actions is not strong in Ethiopia is marketing. There have been numerous efforts to help farmers establish groups and cooperatives for the purpose of making them access and be more competitive in the agricultural markets. Scientific research shows that the culture of collective marketing is still at infant stage and farmers are yet again simply price takers in the markets. The need for creating awareness about collective marketing and the mechanics of establishing and managing it is very clear. This manual is prepared as part of ICARDA’s effort to contribute towards this agenda. The manual contains six main sections on meaning of collective actions, types of collective actions, importance, steps to establish the collective actions, makers and breakers of collections actions, and determinants of sustainability of collective actions. We have presented the relevant concepts and empirical evidence on collective marketing focusing only on essential elements that farm households in rural Ethiopia need to be aware of. This manual was not meant to cover everything about collective action and trainers are encouraged to supplement it with timely and context-specific scientific information whenever possible. We encourage trainers to share their supplementary materials and modifications to the manual. This will complement the revision of the manual that will be done regularly based on the feedbacks of farmers and rural extension workers. We have included publications at the end of each session for further discussion of the topics. Suggestions on recent and contextual references will be highly appreciated. Finally, we would like to indicate that this manual was prepared based on the efforts of numerous researchers in the global scientific community. Yet, we thought it might not be necessary to have all citations in the manual to make it easier to use.