The European Journal of Development Research

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 523–540 | Cite as

Landscapes of Social Inclusion: Inclusive Value-Chain Collaboration Through the Lenses of Food Sovereignty and Landscape Governance

  • Mirjam A F Ros-Tonen
  • Yves-Pierre Benoît Van Leynseele
  • Anna Laven
  • Terry Sunderland
Original Article


Value-chain collaboration (VCC) aims to increase smallholder productivity and market integration. Higher productivity, better incomes and innovations have been documented, but also exclusionary trends and loss of biological and dietary diversity. New forms of VCC ‘beyond the chain’ hope to tackle this through collaboration with non-chain actors. Drawing on territorially embedded VCC, food sovereignty and landscape governance theories, this article presents a conceptual framework to analyse whether and how inclusive VCC, greater farmer autonomy and sustainable landscapes can be achieved. Key elements of our approach are knowledge of smallholders’ various livelihood trajectories and selective value-chain engagement; multi-stakeholder definition of the sustainability choice space; and smallholder inclusion in adaptive learning and empowerment processes that bring together and integrate different and oft-competing knowledge systems and governance levels. This approach will support further action research in learning platforms in Ghana and South Africa. The article discusses the link with the broader inclusive development debate.


value-chain collaboration food sovereignty smallholder agency landscape governance learning platforms inclusive development 


La collaboration au sein de la chaîne de valeur (CCV) vise à accroître la productivité des petits exploitants et l’intégration du marché. Une productivité accrue, de meilleurs revenus, et des innovations ont été documentés, ainsi que des tendances d’exclusion et la perte de la diversité biologique et diététique. De nouvelles formes de CCV ‘au-delà de la chaîne’ espèrent régler cela grâce à la collaboration avec les acteurs non-impliqués dans la chaîne de valueur. Cet article d’appuie sur les théories CCV intégrées au territoire, sur la souveraineté alimentaire et sur les théories de gouvernance du paysage afin de présenter un cadre conceptuel pour analyser si et comment une CCV inclusive, une plus grande autonomie des agriculteurs et des paysages durables peuvent être atteints. Les éléments clés de notre approche sont la connaissance des différentes trajectoires de subsistance des petits exploitants et l’engagement dans la chaîne de valeur sélective; la définition de différentes parties prenantes de l’espace de choix de la durabilité; et l’inclusion des petits exploitants dans les processus d’apprentissage adaptatif et d’autonomisation; ces processus rassemblent et intègrent des systèmes de connaissances et des niveaux de gouvernance différents et souvent concurrents. Cette approche permettra de soutenir davantage la recherche-action sur les plateformes d’apprentissage au Ghana et en Afrique du Sud. Cet article examine le lien avec le débat élargi sur le développement plus inclusif.



This article is part of a research programme on inclusive value-chain collaboration for sustainable landscapes and greater food sovereignty among tree crop farmers in Ghana and South Africa, financed by WOTRO Science for Global Development of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) (project no. W 08.250.2013.122). The first version of this paper was written during the first author’s sabbatical leave, spent at the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in Bogor, Indonesia, whose hospitality is kindly acknowledged. Terry Sunderland’s contribution to this article was funded through USAID’s Biodiversity Earmark.


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Copyright information

© European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mirjam A F Ros-Tonen
    • 1
  • Yves-Pierre Benoît Van Leynseele
    • 1
  • Anna Laven
    • 2
  • Terry Sunderland
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of Amsterdam, Planning and International Development StudiesAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.KIT Sustainable Economic DevelopmentAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Centre for International Forestry ResearchBogorIndonesia

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