Case study

Mapping the market: participatory marketchain development in practice

2006 Kenya Peru Sudan Zimbabwe Agriculture Download as PDF (83.6 KB)


for market systems approaches

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Published by
Practical Action
Project implementer
Practical Action
Results level
Systemic change
Observational / Qualitative
Data source
Monitoring Data
Intervention type
Improved value chain coordination

The paper reviews four case studies of Practical Action's work on participative market mapping, 'an approach to describe the market systems involving small-scale producers: the value chain, together with support services and the business environment affecting the chain.' The study describes the conceptual framework, the practical application and lessons learnt from Practical Action’s work on market systems and rural livelihoods.

Main findings:

  • Market opportunity groups formed of producers empower them and build their confidence enabling them to negotiate with other actors in the market chain.
  • Interest forums of decision makers and influencers at local, national and sometimes international levels are helpful in engaging stakeholders outside the market chain.
  • It is essential to identify specific issues of mutual interest to engage the different actors and the facilitation process should be reflective, pragmatic and iterative in style.

Intervention description

Each of the four cases involve the application of a participatory approach to market-chain development, particularly in the development of market maps as tools for improving value chain linkages, relationships between actors, market access, product quality, etc. This involves several phases, including: identifying key issues, consolidating the role of producers in market opportunity groups, grouping other stakeholders in market system interest forums, and hosting workshops that bring the various actors together.

Evidence methodology

The study is based on Practical Action's project results and illustrations are provided from four projects. The qualitative assessment measures success according to participation rates among farmers and any substantive market chain reforms that might have taken place a result.

Useful for:

Value chain interventions, participatory market development initiatives.