Complying with the private trade standards required to export fresh produce to Europe: Challenges for smallholder farmers
Being able to access European fresh food markets brings benefits to African farmers and helps the economy generally, but consumers and retail buyers require proof that the food is safe and has been grown in a way that neither harms the environment nor causes ethical issues during production. Private standards furnish this proof, but in order to comply with a private standard, growers often need to adapt their production practices quite significantly, and this can be a particular challenge for small-scale farmers. Examples are given of how compliance can be achieved and ways are described of bringing together representatives from different African countries, to help to address these market requirements. The focus of the article is the most commonly used private standard, GLOBALGAP, for which costs and benefits of compliance are discussed, based on the authors' own experiences in Africa.