Strategies to develop market access that contribute to resilience in the Bolivian highlands: Two case studies
The study evaluates how the Bolivian Andean Platform, under the philosophy of the Participatory Market Chain Approach (PMCA) reduces transaction costs for native products, Chuño and Tunta, produced by small-scale farmers in three communities in Umala-Bolivia. At a first stage, the study identifies how local native potato varieties' programs (NPVP) developed by the International Potato Center (CIP)-ALTAGRO development project empower farmers to be able to participate in the Bolivian Andean Platform. It also identifies the barriers foreseen by those who do not participate in NPVP. At a second stage, it analyzes which transaction costs are reduced for farmers who participate in the Bolivian Andean Platform. It also identifies incentives within the platform that motivate market chain actors' participation. To accomplish the objectives, the authors use qualitative methods to develop a multiple embedded case study, and an empirical study under the pattern-matching logic (Yin, 1994). For the case study, personal interviews are conducted with all 10 stakeholders of the Bolivian Andean Platform. For the empirical study, the qualitative analyses consist of the selection of families that produce chuño and tunta for commercial purposes in three communities participating in the Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Collaborative Research Support Programs (SANREM CRSP) and CIP-ALTAGRO baseline surveys. Selected chuño and tunta marketers are divided in those who participate in NPVP, and those who do not. On the one hand, the results indicate that NPVP benefit producers' participation in the Bolivian Andean Platform by promoting collective action, sustainable livelihoods and resilience. The barriers to participate are mainly due to emigration and the resulting decreased labor available at the household. On the other hand, the Bolivian Andean Platform reduces search, information, bargaining and contracting costs in the market chain, while increases participation, monitoring and enforcement costs. It also promotes agency capacity and market involvement for small-scale producers. However, the Bolivian Andean Platform lacks incentives to motivate farmer's participation, and offers a price that does not reward producers' efforts for higher quality of chuño and tunta.