Many of the people attending the 2012 Earth Summit (Rio+20) in June see promise for sustainable development through private-sector initiatives — and expect that improved links to markets can reduce poverty among half a billion small-scale farmers who feed much of the developing world. But most of the ‘inclusive business’ models already set up to do that are reaching only a narrow minority of farmers. To get the future right for the other 90 per cent, policymakers, businesses and nongovernment organisations must ask the right questions. Instead of thinking about how to make markets work for the poor, we must look at how the poor make markets work for them.
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