Market Assessment

Mercy Corps South Azerbaijan, USAID, 2000

    In 2001-02, Mercy Corps conducted a market assessment in response to a request for proposals from USAID. The study led to a successful proposal funded by USAID to develop the markets for veterinary and production advice services for rural, low-income livestock farmers in two southern regions of Azerbaijan, Lenkoran and Massali. The study had three components:
    - An overview, cross-sector, assessment of 12 BDS markets in six regions which relied on key informant interviews, a survey of 330 microenterprises, focus group discussions with microenterprises and 121 interviews with BDS providers.
    - A detailed assessment of the veterinary and production advice service markets which relied on group discussions with 100 livestock farmers and focus group discussions with service providers.
    - A rapid subsector analysis of the animal husbandry subsector which relied on group discussions with 100 livestock farmers and key informant interviews with other subsector actors.
    The study cost approximately US$8,000.

    Methods for info gathering
    Key informant interviews, SE survey, Focus Group Discussions, Provider Interviews, Quantitative, Qualitative

    Summary of results
    The overall BDS markets assessment indicated that the markets for veterinary and production advice services had the most potential for expansion among microenterprises. The choice of these service markets was confirmed by the subsector analysis of the animal husbandry subsector. This analysis showed that animal husbandry was an important and growing subsector with approximately 10,025 farmers commercially involved. The analysis also showed that veterinary and production advice services could have a significant impact on farmers by addressing key problems in their businesses.

    The specific study on the veterinary and production advice services markets revealed the following key constraints in these markets:
    Demand-side constraints:
    - Farmers do not fully understand the benefits of the services and are risk averse.
    - Farmers are not aware of available payment options and are reluctant to pay for services up front.
    - Farmers located in remote areas are not always an attractive market for service providers.
    - The local culture limits women from directly contacting service providers.
    Supply-side constraints:
    - Service providers have poor promotion and marketing skills and strategies.
    - Service providers lack business skills to develop attractive service products.
    - Service products lack the features consumers want.

    These findings led Mercy Corps to design a project with the goal of improving the profitability of clusters of rural poor and women microentrepreneurs by increasing access to a network of trained veterinary and production advice service providers, resulting in significant expansion of the service and final goods markets. Key components of the project are:
    - Raising awareness among animal husbandry farmers about the services.
    - Developing or strengthening clusters of farmers to access services jointly.
    - Developing the skills and capacities of BDS providers to respond to demand with appropriate service products and marketing strategies.
    - Assisting providers to develop a network.

    Associated Activities and Documents
    Market Assessment
    »Assessing BDS Demand & Supply in Weak/Limited Markets, SEEP PLP, 2004
    Programme Design
    »Cluster Access to Business Services - Design, Mercy Corps, Azerbaijan, 2002
    »Cluster Access to Business Services - Implementation, Mercy Corps Azerbaijan, 2002-7
    Final Documentation
    »Cluster Access to Business Services - Livestock Sector, Mercy Corps Azerbaijan 2005