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Hivos Provocation Insights 5: Pro-poor business, development and smallholder empowerment

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This report summarises the discussion held in the last of a series of ‘provocations’ designed to stimulate critically constructive debate around the agenda of ‘making markets work’ for small-scale farmers.

This provocation aimed to inject new knowledge and insights into the topic of pro-poor business, development and smallholder empowerment.

The growing effort within international development circles to ‘make markets work for the poor’ has seen the private sector adopt new approaches that claim to be more inclusive of small-scale producers and enterprises. Fair trade, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and inclusive business models offer the hope that market principles and practices can be used to reduce poverty and empower producers. But to what extent do such models actually deliver on their promises? That was the question raised at this ‘provocation’.

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