Making BDS Providers Work for Smallholder Farmers in Nepal, IDE, 2004

    For those coming to this entry from the "What's New" page, there is an added document below which describes IDE's general approach to integrating small farmers into markets in Nepal based on their international "PRISM" approach. The brochure mentions several other projects that IDE is implementing in Nepal using this approach.

    Prior to implementing the smallholder (MSE) BDS program in October 2001 in three rural districts of western Nepal, IDE conducted a two-month, field-based assessment of existing markets to identify weaknesses, gaps, constraints, opportunities, and the reasons behind the lack of demand for, and supply of, inputs and services.

    Program efforts are directed at facilitating backward and forward links between smallholder farmers and BDS providers with marketing and training activities designed to help producers adopt high-value, irrigated vegetable production technologies. IDE's work with vegetable traders and farm groups helps facilitate the timing, size, and quality of produce sales and activities are conducted jointly with government line agencies, vegetable collection centers, agro-vets, and local broadcasting stations strengthen their ability to supply market information and agronomic know-how to maximize returns to farm producers.

    Because farmers have come to expect free services, IDE is building provider capacity to make informed recommendations at the point of purchase. This is strengthening an existing, but relatively ineffective, system of providing embedded services. The development of lead farmers as local entrepreneurs is making such services available in remote areas.

    Methods for info gathering
    SE interviews, key informant interviews, focus group discussions

    Summary of results
    A few of the many lessons learned include:

    - The decision to train staff in a process-oriented approach coupled with data gathering to assess project impact has yielded both successful project performance and excellent information for project evaluation and management.

    - Project activities are generating a synergistic effect as collaborative relationships and links develop between private sector entrepreneurs, NGOs, and local line agencies and governing bodies. As a result, all players are obtaining more far-reaching and sustainable results and IDE is working with them to develop collection centers and promotional and training activities. IDE also uses partner organizations for social mobilization and its work with functioning MSE groups is enhancing the cost effectiveness of project activities.

    - The market development approach to business services is imperative from the point of view of sustainability. The market must be assessed to identify non-distorting points of intervention and build profitable business relationships among program functionaries. Development cannot be hurried and all parties must combine their efforts to achieve sustainable results. Sustainability is possible only through participation and empowerment of all stakeholders.

    Associated Activities and Documents
    Impact Assessment
    »A Model for Pro-Poor Wealth Creation through Small-Plot Irrigation and Integrated Service Provision, IDE India and Nepal 2004
    Final Documentation
    »Developing BDS Markets for Small Farmers in Nepal, IDE, 2004
    Synthesis Documents
    »IDE PRISM Guidelines and Manual - Linking rural poor to markets & irrigation technology, 2005