Tipping the Balance: Policies to shape agricultural investments and markets in favour of small-scale farmers

Rasmalar and her family are part of a rice growing co-operative in Sri Lanka (2011). Photo: Abir Abdullah/Oxfam
Paper author: 
Bill Vorley, Lorenzo Cotula, and Man-Kwun Chan
Paper publication date: 
Saturday, December 1, 2012

A recent wave of large-scale land acquisitions and other commercial investment in agriculture has raised concerns that small-scale producers are being marginalized. This report takes a new look at the role of public policy and market governance in ensuring inclusive sustainable development. It identifies key policy levers and how these tip commercial investments in favour of either small- or large-scale farming, and how policy levers influence market governance to constrain or support the fair sharing of risk and reward between small-scale producers and the rest of the market. A considerable proportion of the report is dedicated to identifying policy elements that can specifically contribute to gender-equitable results. The focus of the analysis is on national policy, with international policy discussed insofar as it affects national policy and investment processes. The work was supported by four country case studies, conducted in Guatemala, Nigeria, Tanzania and the Philippines.