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Actors of change: can socio-legal empowerment support rural producer agency?

Growing numbers of policies and programmes aim to integrate small-scale rural producers into agricultural value chains, mobilising concepts such as ‘inclusive business’ to promote approaches whereby firms equitably include low-income groups. But significant questions remain over how best to: recognise the possibly divergent visions, interests and constraints of different actors; address often substantial power imbalances; and ultimately promote agency among rural producers and their communities — that is, their ability to choose, act and influence realities around them. Based on a review of trends in commercial agriculture and experience of supporting rural producers and communities in various countries, this briefing develops a conceptual framework to further understand, test and strengthen the contribution that socio-legal empowerment can make to enhance the agency of rural actors as they engage with, or are affected by, commercial agriculture.

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EPIC aims to empower rural producers and their wider communities to influence public decisions and private sector conduct in favour of bottom-up, locally beneficial and more sustainable investments in commercial agriculture.

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Empowering Producers in Commercial Agriculture (EPIC)

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