Trading up: Building cooperation between farmers and traders in Africa

This book looks at the role of traders in the food chain. Examining issues that affect both traders and farmers, the book reinforces the message that the different groups should work together rather than disagreeing. The book shows how traders can generate demand for farm products and help improve the incomes and livelihoods of rural people. There are 15 case studies that look at how relations have been strengthened between farmers, traders, wholesalers, processors and retailers.

Africa: €12 (Kshs 1200); Asia: €17; Europe: €25; North America: US$40.

Chain Empowerment: Supporting African farmers to develop markets

Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam; Faida Market Link, Arusha and International Institute of Rural Reconstruction, Nairobi.

This book shows how African smallholders can earn more from their crops and livestock by taking control over the value chains they are part of – chains that link them with consumers in towns and cities, as well as in other countries. There are 19 case studies showing how groups of farmers improved their incomes and how development organisations helped them.

The book costs US$20.

Both of these books are available for free download at and paper copies be purchased by emailing

To order paper copies if you live in Africa or Asia, email or order at Or write to: (for Asia) IIRR Regional Centre, YC James Yen Center, Silang, Cavite 4118, Philippines; (for Africa) IIRR Regional Centre, PO Box 66873, Westlands, Nairobi, Kenya.

Improving food security

This PILLARS Guide provides practical information about pest control, grain banks and new techniques for food preservation and storage. It increases awareness of the benefits of maintaining genetic variability and traditional crop varieties.

This PILLARS Guide can be downloaded free at: in English, French and Portuguese.

Free printed copies are available from: Tearfund Resources Development, 100 Church Road, Teddington, TW11 8QE, UK


Useful websites

Famine Early Warning System Network provides early warning and vulnerability information about emerging and evolving food security issues around the world.

The FIVIMS Initiative (Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Mapping System) promotes cross-sectoral analysis of underlying causes of food insecurity, hunger and malnutrition for improved policy making, programming and action.
The Centre for Information on Low External Input and Sustainable Agriculture provides information about successes in sustainable smallholder farming.
The Conservation Farming Unit website provides information about conservation farming techniques used in Zambia.


ECHO works to provide information to those working in agricultural development:

  • This website (in English) contains a wealth of information about small farm tropical agriculture, with some information available in French and Spanish. 
  • You can order free trial packets of seed from ECHO so that you can evaluate these plants in the communities where you work. For more information, write to ECHO, 17391 Durrance Road, North Ft Myers, FL 33917, USA. Email: 
  • If you have a specific technical question, email and a staff member will try to find an answer for you. Be as specific as possible and explain the setting for which you need the information.

Farm Radio International aims to fight food insecurity by supporting African broadcasters in meeting the needs of local small-scale farmers and their families in rural communities. They distribute radio scripts to over 300 radio organisations in sub-Saharan Africa. Each quarterly script package focuses on a different theme, such as nutrition, indigenous knowledge, women in agriculture or livestock. The package also includes tips for broadcasters on presenting the information and adapting it for their own listening audience. The scripts are available at

Farm Radio International also shares information through Farm Radio Weekly (FRW), its on-line news bulletin for broadcasters. To sign-up for FRW visit:

For more information about the scripts or the news bulletins contact:
Farm Radio International, 1404 Scott Street, Ottawa, ON, Canada, K1Y 4M8