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.
This publication has been produced under IIED’s Legal tools for citizen empowerment project.