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Community Contribution

Influencing Systemic Changes in Agricultural Market Systems in Southwest Bangladesh

Sushanta Kumer Sarker, Fouzia Nasreen, Samira Saif, Tim Sparkman, Jason Agar

Influencing Systemic Changes in Agricultural Market Systems in Southwest BangladeshThe Feed the Future Bangladesh Rice and Diversified Crops Activity (“the Activity”), funded by USAID and implemented by ACDI/VOCA, was a six-year effort that used several approaches to intensify and diversify the production and value-addition of rice and other crops in southwest Bangladesh. Its goal was to create more competitive and inclusive market systems by incentivizing the private sector to test and scale-up more competitive business models that are more responsive to the needs and requirements of smallholder farmers. The Activity worked in 22 districts in southwest Bangladesh, promoting transformative changes in the way rice, maize, sesame, mustard, sunflower, groundnut, lentil and mung bean market systems function.

The Activity’s systemic change objectives outlined the types of inclusive and competitive systemic changes sought by the Activity. These included the following:

  1. Input companies moving from commodity-oriented to customer-oriented marketing strategies
  2. Increased adoption of gender- and nutrition-sensitive business models
  3. Institutional buyers offering incentive systems for producers
  4. Banks offering financial services to producers and local service providers (LSPs)
  5. Increased number of LSPs offering mechanization services
  6. Agribusinesses adopting business development services (training, communications, marketing, and advertising) and ICT technologies (enterprise resource planning, point-of-sale, and digital payment systems), which results in access to information to support evidenced-based decision making

This Outcome Harvest (OH) explored for these and other types of systemic changes across the market systems targeted by the Activity’s interventions, as well as the business models promoted by the Activity. The study was purposefully broad and opportunistic, seeking positive and negative outcomes that may have been related to the Activity’s work, then analyzing them to determine the degree to which they are systemic. This assignment’s purpose was to answer the following central OH question:

To what degree have the Activity’s interventions contributed to systemic changes that resulted in more inclusive and competitive market system dynamics?

In answering the central OH question, this study generated insights into a larger set of questions:

  1. Which business models promoted by the Activity have resulted in systemic changes?
  2. What are the scope and characteristics of these systemic changes?
  3. What influences contributed to these systemic changes?

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