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Poverty reduction through market participation

Reliable market access boosts productivity, increases incomes and strengthens food security. It reduces poverty and hunger for producer families and their communities.

However, many rural producers face serious difficulties accessing markets to sell their goods. They are constrained by their remote locations, high transportation costs, and a lack of both business skills and the organization needed to give them the bargaining power that would allow them to interact on equal terms with larger and stronger market intermediaries.

Agricultural and food product markets have changed significantly over the past 30 years. Modern value chains serving national and regional markets, particularly in urban areas, now complement traditional markets. Demand for high-value products continues to grow. All of this means increased opportunities for smallholder producers.

However, it is not always easy to connect smallholders to markets, or to ensure that their produce meets market standards. The unequal distribution of power also mean that small producers can earn significantly less than other stakeholders, such as larger processors and exporters.

Selling more food at fairer prices

Increasing poor rural people’s access to markets is a key priority for IFAD. The proportion of IFAD-supported projects that include work on market access has increased dramatically – from 3 per cent in 1999 to more than 75 per cent in 2014.

Better access to domestic and international markets means small producers can reliably sell more produce at higher prices. This, in turn, encourages farmers to invest in their own businesses and increase the quantity, quality and diversity of the goods that they produce.

Equitable, win-win partnerships

IFAD-supported projects work to increase greater market access and develop markets for the rural poor. Some of our projects support infrastructure development, while others improve physical access to markets.

Many of our projects are designed to support the entire value chain, from food to fork. These value chains are complex, involving not only producers, but also wage earners, service providers and others. Each link in the value chain has the potential to create income for the rural poor.

IFAD is dedicated to promoting a more systematic and pro-poor way of doing business with the private sector. We have thus developed the public-private-producers partnership (4P) approach, which ensures smallholder producers are equal and respected partners in value-chain partnership arrangements. 


Reducing poverty through access to new markets

Thenks to IFAD-supported project, Amara Koroma improved production methods and sustainable farming, and gained access to new markets.



Viet Nam

Sustainable Rural Development for the Poor Project in Ha Tinh and Quang Binh Provinces (SRDP)
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Inclusive Rural Development Programme (PRODERI)
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Rural Income Promotion Programme (PPRR)
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Related news

IFAD and Cambodia to increase smallholder farmers’ incomes by expanding market opportunities

February 2017 - NEWS
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government of Cambodia signed a financial agreement today to fund a rural development project that aims to increase incomes for 75,000 smallholder farming households by expanding commercial agricultural markets and developing links between producers, buyers and service providers.

UN agency support to improve smallholder farmers’ agricultural production and access to markets in Bangladesh

August 2016 - NEWS
Dhaka, 24 August, 2016 – The Government of Bangladesh and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have signed a financial agreement to increase incomes and reduce extreme poverty and hunger for more than one million poor farming households in Bangladesh by increasing agricultural production and improving access to markets.

Related publications

Executive summary, final report on the participatory impact evaluation of the Root & Tuber Improvement & Marketing Programme in Ghana

November 2015
This document presents the findings from the impact evaluation of the Root & Tuber Improvement and Marketing Program (RTIMP) in Ghana. The program was executed by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Government of Ghana (GoG) from 2007 until end of 2014, and co-financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) for a total amount of US$ 18.83 million.

Insights and lessons learned from the reflections on the PIALA piloting in Vietnam

November 2014
Under the 9th  Replenishment, IFAD committed to moving 80 million rural people out of poverty cumulative from 2010 onwards to 2015, and conducting 30 rigorous impact assessments. Hence the urgent need for appropriate methodologies for impact assessment. To respond to this need, a few piloting initiatives have been launched, one of which is the Improved Learning Initiative (ILI) 2. This  initiative  aims  to  develop  a  potentially  scalable  Participatory  Impact  Assessment  and Learning Approach (PIALA) that can help IFAD and its partners collaboratively assessexplain and debate its contributions to rural poverty impact. The PIALA design and piloting is funded by IFAD’s DFID-financed Innovation Mainstreaming Initiative (IMI) and BMGF’s Measurement, Learning and Evaluation Unit in the Agricultural Development Program; and with important contributions from IFAD’s Country Program Offices and partners in the pilot countries (Vietnam and Ghana), and its Strategy & Knowledge Management and Program Management Departments.

Insights from Participatory Impact Evaluations in Ghana and Vietnam

February 2016

This paper by Adinda Van Hemelrijck and Irene Guijt explores how impact evaluation can live up to standards broader  than statistical rigour in ways that address challenges of complexity and enable stakeholders to engage  meaningfully. A Participatory Impact Assessment and Learning.

Approach (PIALA) was piloted to assess and debate the impacts on rural poverty of two government programmes  in Vietnam and Ghana funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).


Contact us

For questions please contact Marco Camagni,

Senior Technical Specialist - Rural Markets and Enterprise Development,

+39 0654592576