External review

The influence of market support interventions on household food security

Humanitarian Evidence Programme

Published by
Oxfam GB

This evidence synthesis attempts to identify, synthesise and evaluate the existing evidence on the influence of market support interventions on household food security in humanitarian crises. It aims to:

  • verify the quality of existing evidence
  • help researchers identify the strengths and weaknesses in such evidence, and thus recognise potential improvements and opportunities for future research
  • assist practitioners and policy makers in evaluating the impact of choices and investments based on the evidence, and assessment of this evidence

The report concludes that despite the paucity of available evidence, this evidence synthesis illustrates a largely positive influence of market support interventions on household food security and also trader income. However, the evidence is very limited in terms of quantity, analytical rigour, diversity of examples and contexts, and intervention scale.

The authors suggest a number of factors for the lack of evidence. The highlights are:

  • There is a lack of funding available for market support interventions, and non-flexible funding 
  • Market assessment and market monitoring are of low quality and narrow scope 
  • All humanitarian operations aim to use the market, in one or more ways, but they do not yet support it before and after a crisis, nor redress any negative impact of humanitarian interventions on the market system 
  • Humanitarian infrastructure support programmes do not include household outcomes
  • Humanitarian market support interventions mostly target market actors 
  • Poor documentation practice by humanitarian sector actors, including private sector donors, limits accountability and learning