Market Literacy and Business Plan Development: Making markets work for the smallholder farmers and their products
Posted on: 8/5/2016
By: Asharam Gurung and Bibudh Dhewaju, LI-BIRD
Smallholder farmers find it challenging to comprehend the agriculture market. They face difficulties trying to grasp the intricacies of conducting commercial farming which would have otherwise provided them a drive for cultivating and also improving income generating options. The lack of knowledge, limited economy and inconsistent approaches prevent the farmers from stepping into the world of commercial agriculture.
With an objective of enhancing the participants’ knowledge and skills on to assist the community people while developing business plan, and expanding their linkages with different actors within the marketing environment, a training “Market Literacy and Business Plan Development: Making Markets Work for the Smallholder Farmers and their Products” was organized by LI-BIRD from 25 to 28 July 2016 in Pokhara. The training offered course which is based on four modules: market literacy in the context of agricultural market, plans required for marketing, all stages a product comes across on its way to customers through value chain development, and support services to improve access to micro credits and product insurance that are needed for successful business. The training featured the following major contents: basic concept of agricultural market; actors and their characteristics; participatory tools and approaches for identifying key stakeholders, market problems and opportunities; business plan development; access to microcredit and pro-poor financing; and understanding roles of groups and cooperatives for collective actions and identifying market based solutions.
The training offered powerpoint presentations, and interactive sessions through group works and discussions for learnings and observations. The participants were also exposed to a successful cooperative named ‘Rupa Tal Punarsthapana Matshya Palan Sahakari Sanstha Ltd.’ through a field visit which is successfully operated by the farmers of the community in Rupa. Similarly, the participants also interacted with Maina Thapa of Begnas, Kaski - a progressive farmer and successful entrepreneur who provided her own experience in agricultural marketing to the participants. Maina was undeterred by the failure of the cooperative she was involved in, and singlehandedly took chance and initiated commercial selling of agricultural produces in the market. Her initiation has turned fruitful and she has been doing well for her livelihood.
There were 24 participants representing eight organizations including LI-BIRD of which 8 were female 16 were male participants. Photo: Lakpa Sherpa and Uddab Karki, LI-BIRD.
A participant of the training, Kheem Kumari Gurung, chair of Panchadham Cooperative, Kaski, is encouraged by Maina’s initiation, and has expressed her intent and drive to try her hand in marketing of agricultural produces despite uncertainty of the result. Speaking about the training, Rebati Adhikari, a participant representing Pragatisheel Agricultural Cooperative, Dhikurpokhari, Kaski, recited a poem where she expressed similar sentiments of inspiration: “If we can send our agricultural products to the market, it will be an important opportunity for improving the livelihood of poor people like us’.
There were certain number of participants who felt that the time frame of the training was quite short and would have liked it to be for a few more days to make it even more impactful. Krishna Bahadur B.K. who represents Dalit Welfare Organization (DWO) Banke said, ‘This training really provided us a broad picture of a business development plan and steps of value chain which I will mostly implement in supporting marketing plans of our cooperative.” Looking forward, the participants have shown commitment and willingness to plunge into the world of agriculture market, in the first hand, with systematic planning after the training.
Rajan Dangaal, Chair of Chhatiwan Agriculture Cooperative, Chhatiwan-5, Makawanpur, provides feedback on the training. Click here to listen
LI-BIRD's short courses are designed based on two-decade long work experiences in agriculture, biodiversity, food security, climate change and sustainable livelihoods.