An op-ed by Harsha de Silva, PhD, in Daily Star, Bangladesh focuses on the Smallholder Quality Penalty (SQP) in the jute supply chains. The SQP is the financial penalty on the market price imposed on the smallholder by the first-handler (generally a collector) due to uncertainty over produce quality. This allows the first-handler to offset potential losses due to the perception of lower quality when selling to the next handler downstream. The SQP exists in most transactions in the supply chain. LIRNEasia research on the jute supply chain conducted in 2011 revealed that the SQP is imposed upon smallholders in the Bangladeshi jute industry.
The findings of the jute study conducted in Bangladesh under LIRNEasia’s 2010-2012 research cycle were shared with stakeholders in Dhaka on 9 April 2012. The dissemination workshop was attended by high level representatives from the government agencies such as Bangladeshi Agriculture Research Institute, the Jute Research Institute as well as representatives from the Food and Agriculture Organisation in Bangladesh and private organisations. The findings brought a lively debate about the prevailing issues in the jute industry such as the quality of the seeds in the market and retting techniques as well the quality of the jute produced. There was also discussion about the use of Information and communication technology such as mobiles to bring about some of the improvements in efficiency. The workshop was organised by Institute of Informatics and Development (IID) and Development Research Network (DNET), Bangladesh.
I’ve been asked about how we choose our research topics. Intuition, I answer. Lot of discussion among the team and intuition. How did we choose the case studies for the research on agricultural value chains? Here, the team assembled a lot of data too.