The Nobo Jatra Development Food Assistance Program (DFAP) led by World Vision Bangladesh (www.wvi.org/Bangladesh)organized a training for employees of three USAID Food for Peace-funded DFAPs.“Livelihood is a key component in the DFAPs, which links to improved health and nutrition,” said one of the USAID officials present atthe training. ‘Livelihood flourishes through improved market linkages’, he continues. About 34 key staff members from World Vision Bangladesh, Winrock International, CARE Bangladesh, Helen Keller International, and their local partner NGOs participated in this training at Proshika HRDCT, Manikganj from 28-31 August 2016. The Chief of Party, Nobo Jatra Program, Rakesh Katal has regarded this workshop event as, “a rare opportunity to have all three DFAP programs in a single event,which created a cross learning environment about market development best practices and the implementation challenges through sharing hands-on knowledge and experiences.”
USAID recognizes geographical and cultural differences among regions and has adopted flexible approaches suitable to local context. Three presentations on three USAID-Development Food Assistance Programmes prompted different contextual discussion around market assessment in Haor, Char, Hill-tracts and south-western coastal regions of Bangladesh. Market systems development for extremely poor people in theseregions have different constraints,such as shortage of cultivable land, migration, communication, limited livelihood diversification, lack of capital, constrained market, low price of products, involvement of middlemen, and so on.
“Both input suppliers and buyers usually engage and benefit the upper-level producers, but extremely poor producers are not getting access in most of the cases, because they have no land and produce little to sell in the market. They don’t have much capacity to give back to buyers and input suppliers,” said one of the participants.
Dan Norell, Senior Technical Advisor from World Vision U.S., and Nurul Amin Siddiquee, Technical Advisor, Agriculture and Market Systems,CARE USA, jointly facilitated the training. USAID has developed a manual, known as the ‘Field Guide’ (please see the link below), based on their previous experiences of working on integration of poor producers into the market system, which was used as the primary text for this training. “The manual gives a disciplined and structured way of learning,” says Mr.Nur, a USAID official. This training broadly covered the following:
- Familiarity with value chain development and market systems development
- Understanding of constraints to market participation of extremely poor producers
- Understandingof tools for linking producers to suppliers and buyers
- Understanding of tools for linking between producers
- Understanding of tools to better integrate vulnerable groups such as women into value chains
- Understanding of market development approaches of other projects
It is expected that after the training the participants will be equipped with the practical tools that will help to increase market engagement for the extreme poor through enterprise development.Reciprocally, this wider platform of participants, who have tremendous experience on the ground, will also add enormous value to the next edition of the ‘Field Guide.’
The training covered several aspects of engaging and empowering poor producers into the market system, such as existing services they could avail from input suppliers and buyers, ways of strengthening their commercial relationship with suppliers and buyers, improving on their negotiation skills with other actors in the market system, and other issues related to value chain.
Though it is still very challenging, extremely poor producers’engagement in market systems through various mechanisms, discussed in the training, could potentially be a way forward to economic sustainability.
The Field Guide is available on the USAID Microlinks website: https://www.microlinks.org/library/integrating-extremely-poor-producers-markets-field-guide-third-edition