“Bringing to Scale": The scaling-up concept in the agricultural value chain literature

Authors: Thomas Bassett*, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology, Africa, Development
Keywords: scale, agricultural value chain, Africa, cashews, development
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Marshall South, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper examines the varied meanings of the scaling-up concept in the agricultural value chain literature, including scaling up farmers' access to markets, access to productivity-enhancing technology, and participation in markets. Its main argument is that the scaling-up concept is constrained by the linear and functional nature of the value chain framework which cannot adequately capture the ways value chains actually operate. In contrast, a relational network approach reveals a more dynamic process of scale making in which value chain actors' responses to power, risk, and conflict affect the scaling process. The paper draws on a case study of cashew value chain development in Côte d’Ivoire to illustrate this alternative conceptualization of the production of scale.

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