Knowledge management and communication to address information access and power asymmetries for resource-poor producers in value chains.
Reinhild Bode, Dora P. Arevalo Valencia, Paola Andrea Victoria Muñoz
This paper emphasizes the role of knowledge management and communication in value chains from the perspective of resource-poor producers in Latin America. Based on value chain literature, social network theories and concepts of knowledge management and communication, it develops some basic principles of a concept of knowledge management and communication in value chain. Then it presents three value chains (coffee, silk and jaggery) and their information and knowledge problems as barriers for sustaining market relations and/or improving competitiveness. Their effects are conflicting relationships between stakeholders of the value chain, low innovation rates and incompliance with contracts, which put the whole chain at risk. The use of media, including ICT-based media, and the strategy of network-building to increase social capital are presented and discussed as instruments to overcome these problems. While media, especially ICT-based media, can overcome information access problems for ICT literate stakeholders, strengthening horizontal ties is key in order to translate, diffuse and appropriate information and knowledge. Local leaders can act as bridges, linking consumers’ demand and producers’ supply, facilitating the development of co-innovations. Finally, acknowledging the human dimension of economic relationships means putting the person and their social relationships into the heart of research and development.
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