Making markets work for the poor
International programme: markets and livelihoods
Practical Action’s Markets and Livelihoods projects support small producers to overcome poverty and sustain their livelihoods by improving their ability to access, and get more from, the market.
By helping them identify new market opportunities, produce better quality goods and obtain relevant technology, tools and business advice, Practical Action enables families to improve their incomes and secure the food, water, housing and education they need.
Three-quarters of people in developing countries live in rural areas and rely on farming activities to produce food and income for their families.The poverty in which millions of these small farmers live is made worse by:
- Droughts, erosion and other environmental issues that threaten the land and water on which their farming depends.
- The high costs of doing business in isolated areas where roads and communications are poor.
- Unjust trade rules that prevent people receiving a fair price for their goods.
- Competition from cheap imports.
- Falling crop and livestock prices.
- A declining labour force due to HIV/AIDS, particularly in Africa.
Some farmers can overcome these difficulties with knowledge, skills, new technology and capital. It is these farmers who are able to respond to the opportunities that result from the increasing demand for food from people living in cities, and the openings that do exist in international trade. The poorest farmers however, often get left behind. Practical Action is working to ensure that they too can take advantage of such opportunities, make use of appropriate technology and improve their skills to improve theirs and their families lives.
The Markets and Livelihoods Programme helps people to help themselves; it encourages them in their own ideas, builds their confidence and supports their initiative and enterprise by helping small producers with the production, processing and marketing of goods.