Socio-legal empowerment and agency of small-scale farmers in informal markets
Informal economic activity is hugely important, providing food and income for some of the world’s poorest people. But just as in formal trading relationships, some players in informal value chains — particularly small-scale producers — have comparatively less influence than others in the markets and the decisions that affect them.
Socio-legal empowerment (SLE) that promotes producer agency (the processes by which individuals or collectives make more informed choices, take more effective action and bring about change) has an important role to play in the informal sector.
Cases from around the world, from Bolivia to Uganda, show that SLE approaches are varied and best led from the ground up. Development practitioners can support these efforts and help advance producer agency through flexible, long-term programming that understands context, nurtures existing social capital and puts producers first.