In order to address food insecurity, the New Green Revolution for Africa (GR4A) promotes tighter integration of African smallholder farmers, especially women, into formal markets via value chains to improve farmers’ input access and to encourage the sale of crop surpluses. This commentary offers a theoretical and practical critique of the GR4A model, drawing on early findings from a five-year study of value chain initiatives in Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, and Mozambique. It highlights the limitations of a model that views heightened market interactions as uniformly beneficial for smallholder farmers. We challenge the notion that there is a broadly similar and replicable process for the construction of markets and the development of gender-sensitive value chains in all recipient countries. Instead we build upon the feminist network political ecology and coproduction literatures to conceptualise value chains as complex assemblages co-produced by a broad set of actors, including socially differentiated farmers.
- green revolution
- value chains