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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:French Bean Connections: Sustaining Success in a Kenyan Contract Farming Venture
Authors:Jaffee, Steven
Bintein, Gilbert
Periodical:African Rural and Urban Studies
Geographic term:Kenya
Subjects:contract farming
grain legumes
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
Labor and Employment
Economics and Trade
Abstract:Njoro Canners, located in central Kenya, has contracted over 20,000 smallholder farmers to grow French beans for canning and subsequent export to Europe. Despite initial technical problems, subsequent bouts of staff and farmer opportunism, and changes in the firm's links with its external market, Njoro Canners has been able to sustain its outgrower programme and maintain its strong position in a highly competitive international market for more than a decade. The authors trace the background, development, and performance of the contracting scheme and the company, and analyse its evolving structure, including the contractual and other linkages between the firm and various stakeholders. They note that among the dimensions of the venture which have contributed to sustainability the most important have probably been minimal competitor predation, the failure of alternative procurement arrangements, the conveyance of realistic expectations about participation in the project to officials and farmers, the fact that the scheme supplemented the incomes of participating farmers rather than monopolizing their lives, the emphasis on transparency and accountability, the development of strong performance based incentives for staff, the effective cultivation of political allies and management of political predators, a secure market outlet, and the proprietor's unusual degree of entrepreneurship and commitment. Bibliogr., notes, ref.