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Fresh Perspectives

Fresh Perspectives is a series of short opinion briefing papers written by key stakeholders on issues central to the debate over the impact of private voluntary standards and sustainable development. These bite-sized pieces are designed to fast-track the reader on a specific issue and aims to guide the debate. These are available both in freely downloadable pdf format and as paper copies from IIED Fresh Perspectives operates an open-door policy for stakeholders with an opinion or an issue they wish to highlight. Contact [0] IIED if you are interested in writing one.


Key Findings & Policy Recommendations [0]


IIED and NRI have been working with DFID for the past three years to explore opportunities for more favourable outcomes for small producers in developing countries to participate in international horticultural supply chains, given the rise of private standards.This paper summarises the major findings and subsequently draws policy recommendations for retailers, exporters, donors, service providers and researchers. This summary links to source papers in two publication series: the two-page  Fresh Perspectives [1], and full length Fresh Insights [2],


[2]Fresh Perspectives 1 - "Fair miles"? The concept of "food miles" through a sustainable development lens [2]

By James MacGregor and Bill Vorley

The concept of "food miles" presents an argument to buy goods which have travelled the shortest distance from farm to table, and to discriminate against long-haul transportation, especially air-freighted goods. The long-distance transport of food is associated with additional emissions due to increased transportation coupled with greater packaging, as well as negative impacts on local rural communities, and a disconnection between the public and local farming. Furthermore, "food miles" encapsulates (and is at the vanguard of) the climate change debate in the UK. In light of growing international concern over the speed and scale of climate change, the concept of "food miles" has captured public attention and apparently is changing some consumers' behaviour, although only around one-third of shoppers know of the concept.

[2]Fresh Perspectives 2 - Impact of EurepGAP on small-scale vegetable growers in Kenya [2]

By Andrew Graffham, Esther Karehu and James MacGregor

This research shows that initial costs are a barrier to entry for exporters and hence farmers, and are a barrier to expansion for those firms already sourcing EurepGAP-certified product from smallholders in Kenya. It is difficult to see how in Kenya or in other countries, these high costs will be surmounted other than through persistent donor intervention. Investment in reducing the costs of infrastructure, especially irrigation, is justified by the argument that the control points for EurepGAP compliance for smallholders need to be made less costly. Donors have a key role to play in making this happen and championing the role of smallholders in export supply chains and in the standard setting process.

[2]Fresh Perspectives 3 - [2] Impact of EurepGAP on small-scale vegetable growers in Zambia [2]

By Andrew Graffham and James MacGregor

Much of the evidence for problems with EurepGAP is anecdotal, for this reason the decision was made to conduct a detailed cost-benefit analysis of EurepGAP implementation by small-scale growers in Kenya, Uganda and Zambia. The Zambia study, summarised in this issue of Fresh Perspective was conducted by NRI and IIED working in collaboration with the NRDC-ZEGA Training Trust (NZTT). The overall objective was to identify, quantify and assess the range of costs and benefits associated with compliance with the EurepGAP standard in order to design policies for donors and standards-setters that are pro-poor and sustainable.

[2]Fresh Perspectives 4 - Impact of EurepGAP on small-scale vegetable growers in Uganda [2]

By Ulrich Kleigh, Fred Ssango, Florence Kyazze, Andrew Graffham and James MacGregor

Uganda continues to benefit from export of niche products through wholesale channels to the EU, but there is concern that these are on the decline. The introduction of EurepGAP certification could enable access to these lucrative markets, but there are no guarantees of success. Uganda appears to be facing a difficult decision over the direction of investment in its export horticulture industry. On one hand, it could follow the high-cost route of EurepGAP compliance to gain access to lucrative markets. On the other hand, it could continue the non-EurepGAP route for the non-supermarket supply chains. Both choices offer risks and benefits, yet without concerted effort from the national-level industry, and complementary demand from EU trading partners, no change is likely.

[2]Fresh Perspectives 5 - African Air Freight of Fresh Produce: is ‘virtual' water transport causing drought? [2]

By Stuart Orr (WWF-UK) and Ashok Chapagain

This short study focuses on one particular aspect of global food trade which is somewhat separated from initial debates about virtual water trade and basic food needs. Here we are focusing on two products, green beans and flowers from Africa. Far from basic necessities, these two products are emblematic of a trade and development debate from southern producers to northern markets. The virtual water discussion given here is to give context to the debate and foundations of this concept.

[2]Fresh Perspectives 6 - Air-freighted fresh food: guilty pleasure or sustainable development champion? [2]

By James MacGregor and Ben Groom

The Stern Review reports that emissions from aviation have been rising faster than other sectors in recent years, largely as a result of global trade. Nowhere are these concerns expressed more vocally than in relation to tourism and air freight. Yet these concerns extend only to the environmental impacts of aviation, ignoring attendant social and economic benefits. This report seeks to expand analysis of aviation's impact on sustainable development by understanding the impact that air freighting has on producer nations, particularly in developing countries.

[2]Fresh Perspectives 7 - Costs and benefits of GlobalGAP compliance for smallholders: synthesised findings [2]

IIED and NRI's research on the costs and benefits of GlobalGAP compliance for small-scale growers (SSGs) in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has shown that there are evident barriers to sustaining access to export horticulture markets. Financial costs and technical requirements are high. Those SSGs already in the export business that are required to comply to continue exporting often complain prices received do not increase whilst costs of compliance are high. Nevertheless, the opportunity to upgrade production activities is something highly-valued in itself by these SSG. The perceived benefits at farm and rural economy level are high for those able to comply. Further, the benefits for exporters are evidenced by high levels of financial, technical and flexible support provided to SSG. Donor commitment to this trade provides an important startup input. Going forward, realizing and sustaining these benefits across farms and economies requires appropriate investments over appropriate timelines that stimulate rather than replace incentives to upgrade production.

[2]Fresh Perspectives 8 - Understanding stakeholder drivers for introducing and complying with PVS - a fresh produce example [2]

Today the range of existing PVS is extensive, covering all stages of the food supply chain: production, inputs, transport, trade, marketing, etc. They meet all kinds of concerns, from food safety to animal welfare, from the environment to quality or taste. With the globalisation of procurement networks, PVS are increasingly common in agrifood supply chains worldwide as supplier networks expand. This paper seeks to address the drivers of complying with PVS, from the perspectives of both the food retailing industry and developing countries producers. The export horticulture trade linking the poorest continent with the richest consumers provides a good laboratory for examining these incentives. It also frames a considerable challenge: how to safely and efficiently produce food that simultaneously and equitably delivers sustainable development benefits to rural Africa.

[2]Fresh Perspectives 9 - Miles better?How 'fair miles' stack up in sustainable supermarkets [2]

By Ben Garside, James MacGregor and Bill Vorley

In 2007, ‘food miles' shot to the top of consumer concerns in the UK. Buying goods that took the shortest route from farm to table was widely seen as a way of shrinking carbon footprints. Air-freighted produce became the epitome of unsustainable consumption, and some UK retailers began to label flown items such as green beans from Kenya. Yet looking at the bigger picture, fresh produce air freighted from Africa accounts for less than 0.1 per cent of UK emissions, and per capita emissions from sub-Saharan Africa are minuscule compared to those in industrialised countries. Against this background are the million-plus African livelihoods supported by growing the produce. Within the grocery supply chain the time is ripe for ‘fair miles' - a working idea that puts development in the South on the environmental agenda, and allows UK retailers a more balanced response on behalf of their millions of customers.

[2]Fresh Perspectives 10 - GlobalGAP Version 3 threat or opportunity for small-scale African growers? [2]

By Jerry Cooper and Andrew Graffham

Private standards compliance is becoming increasingly important for all fresh commodities produced in developing countries and sold in overseas markets. GlobalGAP (formerly EurepGAP) is one of the most widely recognised international standards. The standard was originally developed by (and for) European retailers to provide guidelines and monitor on-farm production. A new version - version 3 - was published in August 2007 to meet the increased expectations of consumers and retailers in Europe. This paper discusses the implications of version 3 for small-scale growers (SSGs) in Africa. Compliance with version 2 was demonstrably difficult for SSGs; version 3 does not make compliance easier and could accelerate SSGs' departure from export markets. Of the 236 control points in version 3, 40 are either new or require stricter compliance. For SSGs, some of these changes will not only mean increased costs but also may not be achievable at all, even when allowing for the cost savings associated with group membership under Option 2.

[2]Fresh Perspectives 11 - Making GlobalGAP smallholder friendly - Can GlobalGAP be made simpler and less costly without comprimising integrity? [2] [2]

By Andrew Graffham and Jerry Cooper

Key messages:

• Smallholders in sub-Saharan Africa have found sustained GlobalGAP compliance challenging, with over half exiting formal involvement in export horticulture

• The most successful GlobalGAP compliant smallholder schemes are highly committed to a commercial approach to farming, well organised in strongly managed producer groups and are linked to a large well-resourced export company

• Costs of compliance could be reduced if the standard was revised so that the level of control was based on a clear understanding of the risks associated with different crop types and production practices

• On food safety, most small-scale production for export in sub-Saharan Africa would fall into low-risk categories

• Adopting smallholder-friendly recommendations will reduce GlobalGAP compliance costs to smallholders by 45% in the first year and 11% over a 5-year period

[2]Fresh Perspectives 12 - Mapping different supply chains of fresh produce exports from African to the UK [2]

By Alan Legge, John Orchard, Andrew Graffham, Peter Greenhalgh, Ulrich Kleih and James MacGregor

The UK, with a population of 60 million has become a sizeable market for fresh produce from sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This is because of its seasonal marketing windows, attractive prices, diverse consumption patterns and rising demand for specific fresh produce. This paper seeks to provide a detailed map of the supply chains of African fresh imports in the UK, quantifying volume and value traded, the people who depend on them for a living, as well as the current trends in sourcing.

[2]Fresh Perspectives 13 - Markets for non-certified fresh produce in the UK [2]

By Accord Associates LLP

In an effort to help reduce poverty in developing countries, many donors have promoted the international trade in horticultural produce grown by SSGs in the belief that it will deliver meaningful jobs, incomes, rural multipliers, opportunities and skills. This effort has continued in the face of rising food safety compliance standards that have eliminated many SSGs from the market. There are potential opportunities for SSGs in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) to supply fresh fruit and vegetables (FFV) that have not met the certification standards demanded by the supermarkets. The main objective of this paper is to quantify the scale of the UK market for noncertified produce and to identify the main drivers of the FFV market to determine whether SSA producers could increase their sales of non-certified produce.

[2]Fresh Perspectives 14 - Room to move 'ecological space' and emissions equity [2]

By James MacGregor and Muyeye Chambwera

Tackling climate change will involve a monumental balancing act. How can we effectively curb emissions while ensuring that poor countries are not restricted in their efforts to develop sustainably? The concept of ‘ecological space' offers a viable solution. By measuring and comparing countries' greenhouse gas emissions, we can pinpoint their share of the total remaining emissions the planet can sustain without serious disruption to climate. The relatively low emissions of poor countries - and the per capita levels for the poorest are just 2 per cent of those in the US - allow them the ‘ecological space' for non-restrictive economic development. Overall, the concept is a workable guide to achieving emissions equity while collectively moving towards a low-carbon future.

[2]Fresh Perspectives 15 - Smallholder compliance with international food safety standards is not a fantasy [2]

By Julius Okello, Clare Narrod and Devesh Roy

Globalization of world economies has opened a window of opportunity for many African countries. With the failure of structural adjustment programs to spur reasonable growth, many developing countries turned to production of non-traditional agriculture exports (NTAE) to diversify their agricultural exports and increase foreign exchange earnings (Singh, 2001). The early movers in Africa included South Africa, Cote d'Ivoire, Senegal, Egypt, and Kenya with Zambia, Ethiopia and Madagascar registering comparatively recent growth in such exports. In most of these countries, generally smallholders dominate the production of NTAE.

[2]Fresh Perspectives 16 - Private voluntary standards and the WTO Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures [2]

By Gretchen H.Stanton and Christiane Wolff

The Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Committee) deals with government regulations in the areas of food safety, animal and plant health. At these meetings, WTO member countries have the opportunity of raising specific trade concerns, e.g. if they believe that another country's sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures are more trade-restrictive than necessary for health protection. In June 2005, St. Vincent and the Grenadines raised concerns about GlobalGAP (formally EurepGAP) pesticide requirements for banana importation, and the relationship between GlobalGAP and official EU requirements. Other developing countries shared this concern, wondering what alternatives were available to affected developing countries. The EU's response was that GlobalGAP standards were not official EU requirements and even if they went beyond official EU regulations, they were not in conflict with EU legislation. This paper seeks to explain how private standards have come up at the WTO and what some of the concerns are.

[2]Fresh Perspectives 17 - Proactively complying with private voluntary standards - Key findings of country case studies in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda [2]

By Ulrich Hoffmann and Rene Vossenaar

Private voluntary standards (PVS) are becoming more frequent and complex and have both positive and negative effects on producers in developing countries. Some years ago, UNCTAD created the Consultative Task Force (CTF) on Environmental Requirements and Market Access for Developing Countries to help facilitate a dialogue between public and private stakeholders on the impact of and adjustment to PVS. (So far, CTF work has focused on two sectors: electrical and electronic equipment and horticulture, in particular fresh fruit and vegetables (FFV)).

[2]Fresh Perspectives 18 - Food-safety standards: A catalyst for the winners - a barrier for the losers? The case of GlobalGAP in horticultural export from Kenya [2]

By Solomon Asfaw, Dagmar Mithofer and Hermann Waibel

Many sub-Saharan African countries have been diversifying their export portfolios away from primary commodities into non-traditional products like horticultural produce to increase their export earning and reduce poverty levels. Several studies have documented the positive role of the horticultural export sector in meeting these targets. However, there are concerns that the proliferation and enhanced stringency of food-safety standards that are imposed by high-income countries can negatively affect the competitiveness of producers in developing countries and impede actors from entering or even remaining in high-value food markets. In parallel with changes in legal requirements, supermarket chains in Europe have developed prescriptive, production-oriented standards, e.g. the EU Retailers Produce Working Group for Good Agricultural Practices (GlobalGAP formerly known as EurepGAP).

[2]Fresh Perspectives 19 - [2]Tackling the exclusion of smallholders from fresh produce markets: a personal view

By Ruth Nyagah

Private market standards are playing an increasing role in determining access to export markets for smallscale farmers. Producers who cannot meet the standards are facing marginalisation. The emergence of international standards as requirements for entry to some segments of the export market is of interest for a number of reasons. The market dictates its requirements in terms of volume and timing, and the producer will often have no choice but to comply, regardless of the level of risk or cost to them. On the other hand, compliance brings a number of benefits along the supply chain, in terms of improved producer health, environmental issues, conditions for workers etc. But such costs and benefits often remain unquantified and are generally not taken into account in price negotiations between buyers and producers.

[2]Fresh Perspectives 20 - Donor responses to the challenges of GlobalGAP in Kenya [2]

By John Humphrey

Food safety has moved up the agenda in all industrialised countries in recent years, partly as a result of successive food scandals and its consequences for consumer confidence. Governments have tightened both product standards and standards for the processes through which food is produced, transported and processed. Business, too, has had to respond. It faces legal requirements to meet ever more stringent public food safety standards and the need to maintain customers' confidence at a time when global supply chains are becoming more complex. Private voluntary standards developed by groups of companies are one response to this challenge.

[2]Fresh Perspectives 21 - Development practice, agrifood standards, and smallholder certification: The elusive quest for GlobalGAP? [2]

By Stefan Ouma

There has been a widespread fear among different international development organisations that the proliferation of GlobalGAP (formally EurepGAP) would lead to the exclusion of smallholder farmers from high value markets in horticulture producing countries across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Accordingly, supporting smallholder certification to GlobalGAP and related capacity development at both farm and institutional levels has been put on the development agenda by GTZ, the Department for International Development (DFID), the United States Agency for International Aid (USAID), the Comité de Liaison Europe-Afrique- Caraïbes-Pacifique and the Pesticides Initiative Program (COLEACP/PIP), and recently the World Bank in several developing countries, including Ghana and Kenya as prominent examples.

[2]Fresh Perspectives 22 - [2]Private standard impacts on developing country producers: a personal experience of GlobalGap certification in Kenya [2]

By Lynette Luvai

Kenya is predominantly an agro-based economy, with agriculture employing about 80 per cent of the population. Agriculture accounts directly for 26 per cent of the gross domestic product and indirectly for an additional 27 per cent. It is estimated that small-scale farmers or smallholders account for about 60 per cent of the country's total agricultural output. Although smallholders in Kenya have traditionally dominated the horticultural sector, during the past decade they have steadily lost market share, owing to the limitations of their size of operation, as well as inadequate technical knowledge and managerial capacity. Their position has been further eroded by the introduction of stringent new laws and market standards that aim to ensure sound environmental management, ethical trade practices, good agricultural practices, and high quality. This paper draws on field experience of the implications of GlobalGap certification on Kenyan producers and offers some key factors for success in sustaining smallholders' participation.

[2]Fresh Perspectives 23 - The Kenyan Horticultural Exports Ltd experience of private voluntary standards [2]

By Apollo Owuor

Eastern and rift valley provinces in Kenya. Private voluntary standards (PVSs) are now a basic requirement for entry into the export horticulture market. All importers require their suppliers to furnish them with details of accreditation in order to be suppliers to the European Union. PVS had initially been viewed as a major barrier to trade in Kenya. However the standards have also brought benefits - provided improved mechanisms of managing the small-scale suppliers and generally increased Good Agricultural Practice (GAP).

[2]Perspectives 24 - Are private standards important to small-scale grower project sustainability? A personal view [2]

By Steve Wright

Today, there is still debate about how to identify vulnerable groups, target resources and design projects to increase the income and improve the quality of life of the very poor. Much discourse, activity and funds have been spent on connecting small-scale growers to international markets, examining and overcoming international market private standards, plus attempting to make processes sustainable now and in the future. Yet despite so much close attention, all too often the withdrawal of support and donor funds signals project decline and eventual demise. The question is why?

[2]Fresh Perspectives 25 - Linking smallholders to high-value crop markets: how does the group approach work? [2]

By Dagmar Mithofer

GlobalGAP certification involves investment not only in human capital - farmer training - but also in infrastructure, such as grading sheds and pesticide stores, and changes in production inputs, such as switching to specific approved pesticides. The initial investments required for certification are non divisible; however, by splitting costs across a group of farmers, the initial investment cost per farmer can be reduced.

[2]Fresh Perspectives 26 - [2]The development of private fresh produce safety standards: Implications for developing Mediterranean exporting countries [2]

By Dr Marian Garcia and Dr Nigel Poole

As food safety and quality standards increase in developed countries and the integrity of existing institutional arrangements to guarantee those standards has come under increasing scrutiny, food products from developing Mediterranean countries may experience increasing difficulty entering global markets if they do not comply with international trading rules and/or voluntary, private standards such as supermarket assurance schemes.

[2]Fresh Perspectives 27 - How private standards designed for export produce also influence Kenyan domestic markets [2]

By Henry Kinyua

In the late 1990s certification news on fresh exports from Kenya was received with apprehension across all of the horticulture industry. Some feared certification would omit smallholders from the export market. In response, the government, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Horticultural Crops Development Authority (HCDA), launched an information campaign to exporters and to farmers - but still a lot remains to be done. Several studies have shown a decline in the number of smallholders participating in the fresh produce export market in Kenya since the introduction of the GlobalGAP standard in 2003. Some studies have estimated up to a 60 per cent decline. This paper gives a personal view on the impacts of private standards such as GlobalGAP on smallholders in Kenya, both in export and domestic markets.

[2]Fresh Perspectives 28 - The impact of private agrifood standards on smallholder incomes in Kenya [2]

By Timothy Mwangi

The Kenya Horticultural Development Program (KHDP) is a five year USAID-funded programme established in October 2003. The aim of the programme is to sustain and increase smallholder sales and incomes through production and employment in the fresh and processed food sector in Kenya. We provide marketing, post harvest handling, processing, and agronomic support for smallholders and allied agribusinesses. One strategic area of support given to smallholders is training and certification in GlobalGAP (formally EurepGAP) - a private voluntary food standard required for export to European retail markets. This paper seeks to summarise the methodology and the key findings from the USAID/KHDP programme, focusing on the impact of food standards on smallholder incomes.


Fresh Perspectives 29 - PVS - Placing small-scale growers on a different footing [2]

By Simon Derrick and Mark Azaglo

Private voluntary standards (PVS) are invariably designed to both assure and appeal to customers (people who buy) and consumers (people who eat) farm produce (these are not necessarily the same people) in industrialised countries. SSGs who grow the produce are obliged to comply with these standards if they trade internationally with customers who demand standards compliance. These private standards are agenda driven; they address the concerns of particular organisations. When the farm is local to the customer/consumer the farmer may at least understand the issues and choose which standards to support. However, when trade is international, particularly when sourcing from developing nations, the issues and concerns of developed country customers/consumers can literally be a world away and are often seen with some confusion at local levels.

[2]Fresh Perspectives 30 - The gap is getting wider: how private standards are filling the void between public opinion and legislation [2]

By Steve Homer

The majority of the public are caring interested observers but their busy lives do not allow them to become overly inquisitive. A trusted single source of information like their chosen newspaper or the BBC will often be the main benchmark against which they will form their opinion. From this position it is often assumed by the consumer that this is the majority civil society position and then it is only a short step to a single source opinion becoming a mainstream food fact.

[2]Fresh Perspectives 31 - The impact of PVS on West African growers producing for domestic and regional markets: a personal view [2]

By Kwabena Adu-Gyamfi

Afrique Link Ltd (ALL) in conjunction with Unilever (Ghana) Ltd, Ghana's Ministry of Food and Agriculture and GTZ launched the Wenchi Tomato Processing Project (WTPP) to train 500 farmers in the production of quality fresh tomatoes to enable ALL processes to achieve the private specifications of Unilever.

• Out of the 500 only about 20 per cent complied with the requirements of the production protocols.  The remaining 80 per cent continued with old practices.

• Of the successful 20 per cent only 5 per cent respected the supply agreements. Most of them side -  sold to the fresh market for better money. The above situation was observed because of the supply demand imbalance.

· Five years down the line the situation has not improved. Imports of fresh tomatoes and processed  tomatoes grew by an average of 11 per cent per annum. Drawn on the ALL experience, this paper gives a personal view on how private standards affect West African farmers producing for domestic and regional markets and it provides some key lessons to take more advantage of opportunities.

[2]Fresh Perspectives 32 - Private standards: a personal perspective from a training service provider [2]

By Henry Wainright and Louise Labuschagne

The Real IPM Company (K) Ltd is an associate member of GlobalGAP (formerly EurepGAP) and has four registered trainers with GlobalGAP. As a company based in Kenya we undertake training in support of GlobalGAP with particular reference to:

• enabling companies to comply with the required criteria and checklists (e.g. training in the safe use of

pesticides, field hygiene, Integrated Pest Management);

• training company staff in the GlobalGAP principles and practice; and

• internal audit training.

[2]Fresh Perspectives 33 - Improving Buyer Awareness [3] [4]

By Chris Anstey

Though retailers and manufacturers have started to commit to development policies, core brands and the way they are purchased remain largely unaffected

Buyers need to be  informed of development issues, with adapted training materials to change "business as usual"

There is positive interest in and strong need for sector- and company-specific training modules.

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