Synthesis Documents

Commodity associations: a tool for supply chain development?, FAO, 2009

    Authored by Andrew W. Shepherd, Jean-Joseph Cadilhon and Eva Gálvez.

    Drawing on a literature review and case studies of relevant associations in Africa, Asia and Latin America, the paper explores the role of commodity associations in improving supply chain performance. Particular attention is paid to 'inter-professional' associations. The paper also touches on the concept of 'value chain roundtables', which may be considered a first step towards full chain association development.

    Associations can play an important role as a focal point for policy dialogue with government but they also have many other functions, including arbitration and regulation, setting or advising on grades and standards, promotion of trademarks or quality signs, support to research, export and domestic market promotion, and provision of information and statistics.


    1. Introduction
    2. Review of literature and experiences to date
    3. Review of case studies
    4. Discussion
    5. Conclusions and recommendations
    Annex: Summary of individual case studies and other associations

    Summary of results
    For donors and technical assistance agencies, the report delivers the following recommendations:

    1. Conduct surveys of commodity value chains to identify the need and justification for commodity association development
    2. Finance meetings and workshops to enable commodity chains to discuss the possible development of associations, and provide technical support for these
    3. Provide initial "seed money" for chain associations, while being careful not to jeopardize long-term sustainability.