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Market access

Poverty reduction through market participation

Reliable market access boosts productivity, increases incomes and strengthens food security. It can contribute to reducing poverty and hunger for producing families and their communities, if appropriate measures are taken to reduce market risks and unequal market power.

Many rural producers often face serious difficulties in accessing markets to sell their goods in the marketplace. They are constrained by their remote location, high transportation costs, limited knowledge, and the lack of business skills and an organization that could give them the bargaining power they require to interact on equal terms with other 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 more opportunities for smallholder producers, but also risks if they are pushed out of these markets.

It isn’t always easy to connect smallholders to markets, nor to ensure their produce meets market standards. Unequal distributions of power also mean small producers can earn significantly less than other actors, such as larger processors, retailers and exporters.

Selling more food at fairer prices

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

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

Equitable, win-win partnerships

IFAD-supported projects work to increase greater market access and market development for the rural poor. Some of IFAD’s projects support infrastructure development to improve the physical access to markets. Others support segments of (mostly production, primary processing and marketing) or the entire value chain. These value chains are complex, involving not just producers but also input dealiers, traders, processors, retailers, and other service providers. Interventions at various links of the value chain have 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 working in value chains. That is why we have developed the public-private-producers partnership (4P) approach, which ensures smallholder producers are equal and respected partners in value-chain partnership arrangements. 

In depth

In depth

Food loss reduction

Food loss has negative impacts on the livelihoods, nutrition and food security of millions of smallholder farmers. 

Projects

Projects

Viet Nam

Sustainable Rural Development for the Poor Project in Ha Tinh and Quang Binh Provinces (SRDP)

Argentina

Inclusive Rural Development Programme (PRODERI)

Madagascar

Rural Income Promotion Programme (PPRR)

Experts

Asset Publisher

James Marc de Sousa-Shields

Lead Regional Technical Specialist, Rural Finance, Markets and Value Chains

[email protected]

Nadhem Mtimet

Senior Regional Technical Specialist, Rural Finance, Markets and Value Chains

[email protected]

Lorna Grace

Lead Regional Technical Specialist, Rural Finance, Markets and Value Chains

[email protected]

Sauli Hurri

Lead Global Technical Specialist (East and Southern Africa), Rural Institutions

[email protected]

Stories and news

Stories and news

Cocoa farmers bring sweet dreams to life

July 2024 - STORY

Did you know nearly all of the world’s cocoa is produced by small-scale farmers? Let’s celebrate some of the people making our lives a little sweeter.

 

In Mozambique, a boost to private sector finance is a boost to rural communities

April 2024 - STORY

Financial exclusion is acute in rural Mozambique, and women are disproportionately impacted. Closing the funding gap to catalyse private-sector investment in rural communities can make all the difference.

Rebuilding livelihoods in Afghanistan’s rural communities

February 2024 - VIDEO

IFAD’s Crisis Response Initiative is helping pastoralists in Herat build resilience against crises by training pastoralists in animal husbandry practices, providing veterinary units with equipment and supplying high quality feed during winter months.

Strengthening rural value chains, one link at a time

February 2024 - STORY

A well-oiled agricultural value chain allow small-scale farmers to make the most of their produce. That’s why IFAD works with rural communities around the world to strengthen local value chains and overcome the challenges that arise along the way.

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Related publications

Related publications

Guidelines for Inclusive Agricultural Value Chains Development in Africa

December 2023

These guidelines assess previous Agricultural Value Chains (AVC) development efforts across Africa, propose policies and strategies for developing AVC pathways, and identify the policy and institutional factors needed for successful implementation.

Côte d’Ivoire: Making small-scale farmers resilient to climate change

April 2022

The Agricultural Value Chains Development Programme (PADFA) seeks to improve post-harvest activities (packaging, storage, processing and marketing) for rice, vegetables, and mango in Côte d’Ivoire.

How to do note: Market needs and emerging opportunities assessment in NUS value chains

March 2021

This How to Do Note is part of a series of five Notes that accompany the NUS Operational Framework.