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Transforming Rural Economies and Youth Livelihoods

 PMSD Toolkit

Project name: Transforming Rural Economies and Youth Livelihoods project (TREYL)

Country: Kenya

Timeframe: 2019 – 2023

Sectors: Poultry, Tomatoes, Grounduts

Unique features: An example of a ‘full’ or traditional PMSD process that aims to develop market system and enterprises that support regenerative agriculture.

Use cases covered by this case study:

Tools used in this case study:

Case study

The TREYL programme aims to strengthen opportunities for young people in agriculture and stimulate the development of more regenerative forms of agriculture, to become less dependent on external inputs and more environmentally sustainable. The theory of change is based on the development of market systems that together can contribute to integrated, regenerative agriculture in combination with the development of knowledge systems that promote regenerative agriculture.

Market Selection followed the standard process in the guidance, in which a long list of potential markets were assessed against a set of criteria. Each criteria was scored, with the following three given an extra weighting because of their significance for the programme – relevance to young people, regenerative agriculture potential and market potential.

  • Young people are dissatisfied with agriculture because of its arduous nature, lack of quick returns, perception that it is old-fashioned and poor market conditions – the criteria reflected the need for sectors which addressed these issues.
  • Regenerative agriculture requires synergies between components of the system and the sectors selected need to support this. For this reason, it was decided that we needed a combination of crops and livestock in the final selection.
  • Market growth potential is important – as well as opening up opportunities for large numbers of young people, it means there are more opportunities to engage with other market actors (e.g. private sector partnerships) to bring about change.


This process resulted in the identification of three markets (poultry, tomatoes, groundnuts).

  • Poultry provides quick returns (important for youth) and are a source of organic fertiliser
  • Groundnuts provide ground cover and fix nitrogen for the soil.
  • Tomatoes provide a ready cash market and benefit from the other two sectors.

However the three sectors have fared differently in the PMSD process.

Preliminary market mapping of the poultry sector quickly identified that this sector had significant potential because of increasing demand for local produce that was not currently being met and as a result of the presence of a large number of market actors with an interest in the sector.

However, preliminary mapping of the groundnut sector highlighted major systemic constraints and few opportunities to address them. The vast majority of the produce used in formal markets and being put through value addition opportunities came from Uganda where the preferred type of groundnut for processing was being grown. The challenges to stimulate home grown production of this variety of groundnut were eventually considered to be too large and  the programme made the decision not to engage in significant market systems development activities but to continue supporting knowledge partners to promote the role of grounduts in integrated farming systems.

This demonstrates the need to adjust plans as new information is available even if that means shifting sectors.

At the time of writing this case study, the work on tomatoes had not started.

Meanwhile, in the poultry sector, strategies for engaging with market actors were developed in order to encourage them to join a Participatory market mapping workshop. Prior to this, tailor made sessions were held with young people from cooperatives to prepare them for the workshops (empowering marginalised actors). The participatory market mapping workshops were held in two locations and resulted in the development of three Market Interest Groups, set up to tackle the priority issues identified: access to finance, market information and knowledge / training.

The facilitation of the MIGs has been an iterative process. In the early stages, it was difficult to challenge the assumption that it was Practical Action’s role to fund the MIGs to carry out activities and their future looked doubtful. However, after about 9 months a breakthrough was made, prompted by facilitators running a reflection session looking back at the role of the MIGs and what would make them effective and sustainable. Subsequently the MIGs have been  running more autonomously with facilitative support from PA.

As an example of their effectiveness, the finance MIGs brought Government representatives in to support the development of cooperatives and then brokered a tri-partite relationship between one of the cooperatives, a financial institution and an off-taker. This model, now being tested, offers potential solutions to access to markets and access to finance for smallholders.

The access to knowledge MIG has brought together public and private actors that provide information services, to develop a common curriculum for regenerative agriculture – so that extension services are more consistent and higher quality.

Through the MIGs, PA was also able to identify market actors that presented innovative opportunities to provide regenerative agriculture services.  Tools including the business model canvas were used to assess enterprises and prioritise those to engage with. As a result of this, the programme is engaging with a number of enterprises supplying organic fertiliser and is providing capacity support, is connecting them to other actors and in some cases, is providing small grants to enable them to overcome constraints.

The TREYL programme is ongoing and continues to learn.

Read more PMSD case studies