for market systems approaches

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Published by
Itad / OPM
Project implementer
ASI / Springfield Centre / Swisscontact
Results level
Poverty reduction
Mixed method
Data source
Intervention types
Improved input supply
Improved marketing of products
Improved product / service quality

Final report of the DFID-funded evaluation of the Samarth Nepal Market Development Programme (Samarth-NMDP) in Nepal. Samarth-NMDP was the first programme in Nepal to be designed according to the M4P approach.

The programme changed its implementation methodology substantially during the course of its lifespan. The first phase of the programme was implemented to gain quick traction but after its failure, the implementation process in the second phase was changed to be more true to M4P theory. 

The evaluation lists the following lessons learned and recommendations:

  • key challenges exist in the enabling environment in Nepal
  • operating in 'thin', donor-rich, environments (such as Nepal) is challenging
  • harnessing demand-side market ‘pull’ is a key driver of intervention effectiveness
  • smallholder producers are more likely to adopt and sustain practice changes with low barriers to entry and may switch farming activities during programme implementation
  • fragmented market systems result in additional challenges and require coordinated solutions to address them
  • the development of a Gender Equity and Social Inclusion Strategy is not sufficient to ensure women’s inclusion and empowerment
  • Nepal’s geography results in particular implementation challenges
  • programmes should develop a more detailed theory of change which takes into account contextual and external factors, as well as programme assumptions

About Samarth-NMDP
A DFID programme running for six years from April 2012 to March 2018. First M4P programme to be implemented in Nepal. It focused on implementing an agriculture and tourism-based market development programme to increase the incomes of smallholder farmers through development of local market systems. Its target was to increase productivity of 330,000 smallholder farmers and to improve their incomes by an average of £80 per year. It aimed to ensure that half of the beneficiaries were women. 

Intervention description

The evaluation tried to determine the applicability of the MSD approach to Nepal. It had three main objectives:

  1. assess the outcomes and impacts and inform on the effectiveness of the programme in addressing its stated aims
  2. inform DFID globally, the Government of Nepal and other stakeholders on the value of the MSD approach, especially within the Nepali context
  3. understand if the hypotheses and assumptions of the theory of change (TOC) hold true

Evidence methodology

The evaluation applies a theory-based evaluation design, framed by contribution analysis and drawing on a mix of methods. It identifies and evaluates intervention-level impacts for beneficiaries, changes in the broader market system, sustainability of outcomes and value for money.