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.
IFAD and Cambodia to increase smallholder farmers’ incomes by expanding market opportunities
UN agency support to improve smallholder farmers’ agricultural production and access to markets in Bangladesh
Executive summary, final report on the participatory impact evaluation of the Root & Tuber Improvement & Marketing Programme in Ghana
Insights and lessons learned from the reflections on the PIALA piloting in Vietnam
Insights from Participatory Impact Evaluations in Ghana and Vietnam
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).