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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school

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Abel Villa

This study has two objectives: 1) to understand how small-scale farmers that live in marginalised areas and are organised in firms learn to produce organic crops, that is how they develop the skills and what efforts they make to learn. And 2) to understand how leaders in the Value Chain support the learning process of farmers. Qualitative methodology is used for this study. Case study was selected as the research strategy along with in-depth interviews and reports. 

The analysis of data reveals farmers do not develop skills based only on their own efforts  but learn in collective action from other participating farmers in the same value chain and they support each other in the learning process. The leaders of the value chain make available financial, technical and input resources to the participating farmers. In addition, farmers see themselves as part of a bigger entity since they cooperate with one another to support its objectives. 

The learning process of firms in value chains is characterised by strong social content where farmers learn in situ and are taught how to do things in the field and with constant interaction with other farmers. Trust plays a role since seeing someone as their peer at all times and solving their daily issues creates an atmosphere of cooperation which reflects the efforts of firms to learn and the others to teach them.

From this project, coherent guidelines can be made for the agricultural sector on how to develop production capabilities to take advantage of more than 22.4% of Rural Economic Units that are classified as subsistence and make them competitive, social mission and export-oriented, added value productive and technological advanced.