Course Details - Market Access for Food and Nutrition Security

Towards Pro-poor & Inclusive Market Development

Today, markets have become mainstream instruments for poverty reduction, smallholder inclusion and increased food & nutrition security. However, market dynamics, failures and shortcomings often diminish the desired impacts and/or long-term effects. This international course shows participants to which extent and in which manner markets can be used to induce and prolong positive change.

Opening markets for smallholders and their products

This very popular course takes market trends as a given, and a dynamic market environment as a basis for sustainable development. The focus is on markets as tools to alleviate poverty, aiming at more food secure consumers and a sustained inclusion of smallholders. The course examines the dos and don’ts of market-led development that is both smallholder inclusive and pro-poor.

Your own experience and cases

Participants’ cases are the starting point from which the course departs. It builds on the participants’ own experiences and situations. A selection of these cases will be further analysed and elaborated throughout the course. In a learning by doing and step-by-step process, strategic action plans are developed to improve these situations. The resulting action plans are the ‘take-away-home’ outputs of the course.

Course objectives

Participants will be challenged to find answers to the following interrelated questions:

  • How can markets be put actively at work for smallholder inclusion and poverty alleviation?
  • How can their products access markets better?

These questions will be addressed in several modules. The first module deals with market economic dynamics, and how to engage small-scale farmers, small entrepreneurs and rural dwellers. The market-economic factors and dynamics that could link these vulnerable groups through value chains to end-markets, will be viewed and discussed from a wide range of perspectives.

The second module deals with all the issues a product comes across on its way to consumers: the institutions that govern food markets. It will be very hard to link any party, let alone marginal groups, to markets if their products do not, or only partly meet the needs of upstream customers. This often controversial problem is addressed from a chain governance angle, entailing all the relevant market and chain-based institutions, and logistical concepts. Special attention will be paid to those tools and instruments that have the potential to reduce the transaction costs or “marketing overhead” in value chains. Because the course is focused on smallholder inclusion, special emphasis will be given to farmer-buyer relationships. In addition, a side step is made on the subject of how to deal with ensuring the provision, security and access to food in dense metropolitan areas.

Action plans

The third module deals with a strategic planning process and the tools that can be used to develop appropriate and targeted action plans, project proposals and/or programmes. A strategic action planning process will be practiced in a hands-on and down-to-earth manner. The focus of the actions is on positive and innovative change. This will be ensured through the integration of a targeted scenario analysis in the planning process. The strategic action planning process is applied to the selected cases that are brought in by the participants. In this way, the role of the relevant stakeholders as well as their respective importance and influence can also be considered. At the heart of the planning process lies the SWOT tool of analysis. This tool will be practiced such that will make a learning difference. The action plans that result from the process will very likely lead to a positive impact when implemented. The development of project proposals, based on a selection of participants cases, and in which all the lessons learned will be practised and internalised, is an integral part of the curriculum.

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