Contract farming can be defined as a firm providing farmers with particular “input” — such as seed, fertilizer, credit, extension — in exchange for exclusive purchasing rights over a specified crop. This form of vertical integration within agricultural commodity chains has attracted considerable academic and policy attention. This review tries, through the analysis of academic, institutional and technical literature and through the study of some documented contract farming cases, to give some answers to the most frequently raised questions concerning contract farming practices: Are smallholders excluded from contract farming? Do contract participants display significantly higher incomes than nonparticipants? Are some crops more concerned by this practice than others and if so, which ones? What firms usually enter into contract farming arrangements? Are some markets more targeted by contract-farming initiatives than others, and, according to the value chain, are there different practices? What are the roles of producer organisations and NGOs?
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