The emphasis on working with farmers organizations in the linking of farmers to markets (agricultural chain approach) tends to overshadow the importance of the role (international) NGOs can play within the functioning of liberal market based economies. In Senegal, the collapsing of the peanut industry, for decades the major agricultural income earner of the country and of individual farmers, has brought to light the inherent instability of the country’s agricultural economy due to the incompatibility of local versus global values. This presentation is based on five years of working with an international NGO collaborating with Senegalese farmers’ organizations in poverty alleviation programs focusing on the agricultural chain approach. The author uses both economic and anthropological reference frames to analyze her findings, and juxtaposes the logics of global market systems with those of NGOs working with Senegalese smallholder farmers.
Lecture to the Indiana University / West Africa Student Exchange Programme, Summer 2009