Case study

Can Market Systems Development build resilience in fragile contexts?

A case study of Effective Seed Storage in Timor-Leste


for market systems approaches

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Published by
Mercy Corps
Project implementer
Mercy Corps
Effective Seed Storage (ESS)
Results level
Systemic change
Mixed method
Data source
Intervention types
Improved access to information
Improved input supply
Improved product / service quality

Effective Seed Storage (ESS) seeks to increase food security in Timor-Leste through initiatives aimed at reducing seed and harvest storage losses and maintaining better access to quality seeds.

ESS took a market systems approach to manufacturing, distributing and building farmers’ capacity to use an improved seed storage technology that addressed their agricultural production risks and supported food security.

This case study shares key findings and recommendations from a programme that implemented the MSD approach to achieving food security objectives in a weak market and fragile political environment.

Intervention description

The case study shows how a holistic/systemic risk analysis can help inform supplementary interventions that strengthen farmers’ resilience. ESS offers significant lessons for programmes seeking to understand how market-based approaches can contribute to resilience.

Evidence methodology

Following a secondary data review focused on ESS evaluations, annual reports and other programme documents, the assessment team conducted a resilience orientation and programme mapping exercise with the ESS team to build common understanding around Mercy Corps’ resilience approach. The assessment also included a literature review, field questionnaires, key informant interviews and focus group discussions.