What is market facilitation and why does it matter for smallholder farmers?.

Market facilitation is a type of market intervention, agent or action, which works to stimulate markets while still remaining outside of the market themselves. This approach targets relationships, ownership, incentives, light touch intervention and continuous exit strategy. Through improving commercial relationships between market actors and actors seeing these new relationships and activities as beneficial, market facilitators invest in resilient interventions. Incentives can be used to “buy down” risk but careful consideration must be made about how this stimulation impacts the system (including type of incentive, who offers the incentive and how long it will last). Market facilitators think about market intervention strategically, getting actors to change behavior in a way that leads to on-going upgrading and increased competiveness.

Important concepts:

  • Facilitate linkages
  • Separate from system/intervention
  • Improved relationships
  • Ownership of actors over relationships and activities
  • Less attributable but more sustainable solutions

Why does this all matter anyway?

Market facilitation takes a broad systemic approach to analyzing what key constraints face smallholder farmers and works to connect and reconnect market actors in a sustainable way where actors see and believe in the benefits of these relationships, NOT just the facilitators.  Also, rather than servicing one farmer or one community for over the short-term, market facilitation allows NGOs to upgrade the whole chain and linkages, allowing not only farmers but ALL other players to benefit.

I am extremely excited to work with Engineers Without Borders in Uganda this summer and be introduced to market facilitation in practice, gain insight on the barriers that limit this approach from being implemented and to explore the effectiveness of this approach as an intervention method.

For more information on the Agriculture Value Chains (AVC) team and market facilitation:


Filed under Mind

9 responses to “What is market facilitation and why does it matter for smallholder farmers?.

  1. You explained MF wonderfully, Emily. Can’t wait to discuss how we understand Market Facilitation in Uganda vs. Ghana!

  2. minashahid

    great explanation sista! looking forward to seeing you on the ground here in Uganda!

  3. Where do you see yourself or other EWBers as a unique value add in this system (compared to any other already existing players)? Love the blog name by the way. Excited to hear more!

    • So sorry my reply has taken this long but two key areas that I have noted EWBers unique value add are that they are systemic thinkers and they thrive in ambiguity. I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on these two points!

  4. Pingback: Creating a sense of ownership. | routestoroots

  5. Pingback: Market Facilitation « Intelligent Development Musings

  6. Shehu Barkum

    wonderful MF is apowerrful key to success

  7. omaren abraham

    Well, would you kindly explain the diagram? I have tried to study it but I feel if you could explain the arrows I could understand it better.

  8. Samal

    Excellent definition…..and i hope there are events/workshops to share experience from Uganda and expertise….let me know of one.

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