Project description / objective
Improve the competitiveness of selected sectors in which the poor participate as producers, employees and consumers and is therefore essential for both private sector growth and impact on the poor.
Phase 1 focused on innovating, developing and proving M4P / MSD methodology and promoting inclusive business models. After mobilising the initial team, Swisscontact established their relationship with the Ministry of Commerce (formal Executing Agency) and constituted a Project Steering Committee (PSC).
A large number of market assessments and value chain studies covering specific industrial sectors, sub-sectors, services and rural markets were conducted. Detailed business service assessments then provided the basis for constructing and prioritising market interventions.
In total, 123 market interventions were completed in Phase 1 in 15 different sectors.
Market system focus
- Introduce contract farming.
- Enable farmers to have access to information, techniques and incentives to take up maize cultivation as a new crop.
- Build year-round supply to make maize attractive to the livestock feed industry.
Increase vegetable production to improve household income levels and provide nutritional benefits in Rangpur District.
Strengthen the local 'fish' value chain and improve farming practices.
Increase access to the poultry market - private companies, input sellers, poultry service providers and associations.
Work with national and local furniture associations to improve their marketing and production efficiency. Increase their capability of competing in the international market through export.
Improve the quality of training systems for low-cost private healthcare services in Dhaka.
ICT for farmers
Develop and promote ICT services to meet information and advisory needs of enterprises in the Bangladeshi rural sector.
Programme intervention (examples)
- Promotion of contract farming of maize and improving the knowledge of agro-input suppliers. Katalyst sought to help develop a maize market in which farmers were informed of maize demand and were able to meet this demand effectively through access to high quality inputs and effective market linkages.
- Introduction of novel cropping varieties (short duration) and practices (composting) and post-harvest technologies (drying, shelling).
- Promotion of short-term storage arrangements for year-round availability.
- Supporting seed manufacturers to develop and deliver short residential training courses for vegetable seed / input retailers.
- Strengthening associations of pond fisherman and fishery service providers by working with local fisheries associations in Greater Faridpur to strengthen the local ‘fish’ value chain from brood bank via hatchery and nursery.
- Improving knowledge and information flows about pond fishery technical and business practices by introducing better farming practices and more profitable species and by introducing the use of different inputs.
- Promoting regulatory reform to allow more private training providers with appropriate levels of government scrutiny.
- Supporting training course curriculum revision and development.
- Devising a new ‘community paramedics’ training course.
ICT for farmers
- Piloting of a telecentre model for farmer information services.
- Partnership with Grameenphone and Banglalink to expand a network of community information centres (CIC), and develop E-krishok and Jigyasha services.
- Raising awareness through marketplace promotions.
Notable results (systemic change, poverty impact)
Katalyst Phase 1 directly impacted 166,000 beneficiaries, and indirectly reached another 285,000.
200,000 jobs were attributed to Katalyst’s work. This includes benefits to 700,000 farmers and small businesses by increasing their access to better services, technology, inputs and representation. 90 per cent of these were in rural areas, of which more than 95 per cent of jobs were created in the day-labour category.
Jobs in the rural services sector were associated with additional income accruing to farmers and SME owners and workers. Calculations suggest an increased income to beneficiaries of between 10 to 25 per cent in most markets.
Katalyst worked to promote maize cultivation in Greater Rangpur through a package of interventions.
- It established an effective method of contract farming where the contractor offers extensive input services (seeds, fertilisers, technical advice, loans etc.) to farmers in return for sale at an agreed price. 3,700 farmers were engaged in maize contract farming as opposed to 380 before Katalyst started working. It has also increased awareness among farmers of the benefits of using compost which in turn increases their productivity. Sales of compost have increased from 2,000 bags to 8,000 bags (320 tonnes). Katalyst has been replicating this package at Jessore, Rajshahi and Bogra where impact is expected to be similar for Phase 2.
- In two years, Rangpur District maize output grew by 140 per cent.
- Farmers switching to maize from other crops have typically doubled their incomes, with those involved in contract farming often gaining more than this.
- 5,000 farmers are estimated to have benefited immediately. This implies an intervention cost of approximately $16 per farmer.
Katalyst worked in Rajshahi, Jessore, and Rangpur to increase the knowledge of input retailers so that they can give proper agricultural advice on cultivation methods, disease control and selection of seeds to farmers.
- 81,250 farmers received better information from 3,600 retailers in the agricultural supply network.
- A case study in Greater Rangpur shows that retailer incomes rose 20 per cent and farmers' yields rose by 10-20 per cent.
- Farmers’ perceptions of retailers’ services improved. Retailers have greater self-confidence, better customer relations and increased sales.
- Sales of vegetable seeds grew three to four times faster than in non-intervention regions.
- First seed company partner (Syngenta) invested in retailer training throughout Bangladesh.
- Productivity improved for half the farmers (13,600), half the nurseries (400) and the majority of hawkers (4,400).
- This has resulted in wider benefits for poor people, in particular through greater employment (nearly 4,500 additional seasonal farm jobs), better performance and higher incomes for smaller (and poorer) farmers and higher consumption of fish (the main source of animal protein).
- 400 nursery owners offered better advice regarding pond management to 11,900 small pond owners, increasing the latter’s yield by 30 per cent.
- Katalyst assisted the Faridpur association in establishing a physical fingerling market to sell fingerlings.
- Through Hadeeka, an input company, Katalyst helped train 240 retailers on the proper application of medicines and chemicals for pest control. Hadeeka reports that sales of their aqua products have increased substantially (by 114 per cent).
- Katalyst has also worked with nursery owners to introduce fish species in Faridpur where they hadn’t been cultivated before.
- Input sellers were able to serve 10-15 per cent more clients than before. By working through associations and making use of their networks and support in the project areas, this led to company sales increasing from 25 per cent in 2007 to 35 per cent in 2008.
- For poultry farmers DOC ('day-old chick') mortality decreased from 7 per cent (early 2007) to 1.2 per cent (end of 2008) and Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) decreased from 2.84 per cent (early 2007) to 1.6-1.8 per cent (end of 2008) leading to increases in farm profits.
- In addition, the poultry associations took steps to help farmers with Agricultural Intelligence (AI) issues that allowed farmers to successfully prevent infection in their farms e.g. burial, fencing to ward off wild animals, spray with disinfectant etc.
- Working with a local Mirpur furniture association, manufacturers learned and adapted more professional promotional and selling practices.
- Katalyst has also helped 150 furniture manufacturers have higher productivity (faster processing, reduced waste) and quality, by switching from manual processing to using power tools.
- Representatives from BAFIOA went on an exposure visit to Chinese Industries in December 2006 and, based on their learning, worked on the formulation of a five-year plan for the entire industry.
- Adoption of improved and transparent policies for approving and licensing training institutes.
- Approval of new guidelines for graduate courses in nursing. Similarly, for employment of medical assistants.
- Introduction of new policy guidelines to create a training market for community paramedics and standards for community health workers.
ICT for farmers
- 4,500 farmers have been assisted through intermediaries to receive business information and citizen services through three rural ICT centres established by private operators with support from Katalyst.
- Farmer information services from Grameenphone and Banglalink have become well established. Number of relevant calls were growing rapidly: e.g. Jagyasha: 7,600 (2010); 25,600 (2011); 80,000 (predicted 2012).
- Over 90 per cent benefitted from this access to information that enabled them to counter or remedy identified pest, disease, and animal health concerns.
- Value of income saved ranged from US$ 12 – 240 per farmer. 60 per cent of callers surveyed were poor (less than $2.5/day)
[uploaded March 2019]