Synthesis Documents

Identifying and Assessing Market Opportunities for Small Rural Producers - A Manual, Ostertag, CIAT, 2004

    Small rural producers around the world grow staple foods to supply their own needs and some manage to produce surpluses for sale. In the past, rural development programs lacked a business and marketing orientation, focusing efforts on production and seeking ways to market what was produced, rather than studying the demands of the market and proposing alternative or additional crops.

    However, in view of globalization, the obligation to reduce poverty, the comparative advantage small producers have in producing certain products, and the need for a viable strategy that promotes improved natural resource management by those producers - development professionals are realizing the importance of linking small producers to markets.

    The manual is a tool for promoting a market orientation for small rural producers and the rural sector. It presents a methodology developed and successfully implemented by CIAT in a pilot hillside ecosystem of Colombia. It can be used to promote deversification of agricultural production, help identify opportunities for traditional products in rural economies, and promote a business approach by including agronomic, commercial, and economic evaluations of potential market options. The manual also proposes a participatory evaluation process that includes the rural producers.

    The manual describes a methodology to identify, evaluate, and take advantage of market opportunities for small producers living in a given micro-region. It follows a logical process:
    - A biophysical and socio-economic profile,
    - Rapid market surveys to identify market options,
    - Evaluation and selection of market options, and
    - Integrated production design with research and development components.

    The manual is based on a "learning by doing" teaching model; each section includes exercises and helps the trainer facilitate learning.

    Associated Activities and Documents
    »Value Adding, Agroenterprise, and Poverty Reduction: A territorial approach, CIAT, Colombia, Lundy, et al, 2002