The aim of this theme is to understand and assess the impact of globalization processes on workers and small producers, as a result of value chain changes; the emergence of new forms of social organization and international solidarity; and production rationalization to achieve competitiveness. Globalization is impacting on African small-scale agriculture producers and workers. The rise of supermarkets in northern markets, especially over the past decade, has significantly affected agricultural value chains for African export producers, resulting in shifts in power relationships and the re-organization of production systems. These changes have strengthened the position of multi-national operations and enhanced the profits of major retailers. As a result of concerns and criticism towards the shifting of power towards large, vertically integrated business, there is consensus at the UN level that the governance of multinational corporations in global markets must include non-shareholder stakeholders in order to promote economic and social justice among small scale producers and workers in the supply chain.
Consequential to this consensus reached at the UN level has been the imposition on all actors within global supply chains of an obligatory adherence to standards systems, in order to validate the integrity of the products and the social and environmental conditions of production and distribution. However, there is still a need for on-going measurement and monitoring of the impact of these interventions on the livelihoods of small producers and social conditions of workers, to ensure that they benefit justly and equitably from doing business globally.