Strange bedfellows?: big business meets small farmer


wytse.jpgWytse Vellema was born in Ferwerderadeel, The Netherlands, on 19 September 1985. After high school, Wytse obtained a BSc in international economics and business (honours, cum laude) from the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (RUG), a postgraduate diploma in economics from Cambridge University, and an MSc international development with a specialization in development economics (cum laude) from Wageningen University. During his studies, he was an active member of a student association, culminating in a year of being its chairman in 2007-08. He has work experience in corporate finance (KPMG) and second-tier financing of microcredit and farmer cooperatives (Oikocredit). His main interest is the interface between business and small-scale agriculture in developing countries, specifically in finding business models which are mutually profitable and have scaling potential. Wytse is (co-) author of several papers published in academic journals in the field of agricultural and development economics. He presented his work at numerous national and international conferences.


Population growth and urbanization cause an increased demand for food distributed through modern food supply chains, dominated by a handful of large international agri-businesses. Primary production, quite contrarily, is dominated by hundreds of millions of small-scale farmers in developing countries. Although big business and small-scale farmers might seem to be strange bedfellows, there are numerous situations in which they already form economic relationships. In the doctoral thesis, the focus lies on a peculiar subset of relationships, so-called inclusive business models, which consists of for-profit buying relationships with small-scale farmers in which the firm states to care about the well-being of the farmer. The thesis contains four papers. Two papers analyse the organisational structure of the economic relationship between firms and small-scale farmers. One paper takes a critical look at an often used way to measure the well-being of small-scale farmers: a food security indicator. The final paper is on coffee certification, a well-known example of an inclusive business model, and looks at its impact on the set of activities farmers rely on to make a living


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