14: From farm to market
Farmers everywhere want to make money from their produce. But they may find that if there is considerable money to be made on a particular crop, so many farmers will grow it that the market is soon flooded. Consequently, development groups are often looking for ways to grow a popular crop out of season, to convert it to a new form, to preserve it for later marketing, or to find a new crop or niche market. Over the years, we have come across some ideas and perspectives which are reported in this chapter.
Be aware, however, that projects requiring the cooperation of many people, demanding a high level of quality control, or depending entirely on marketing abroad are risky and are probably beyond the scope of what most NGOs will want to do. ECHO, and most people in our network, specialize in microdevelopment, "one family at a time." We hope that reading about these ideas leads you to consider what to look for in developing a small business. We also mention some ways you can use the expertise you gain in the field.
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