Case study

Making ICT work for Bangladesh’s farmers


for market systems approaches

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Published by
Project implementer
Results level
Systemic change
Mixed method
Data source
Intervention type
Improved access to information

This case study reviews Katalyst's experience between 2005 - 2011 in Bangladesh, where the focus was on ICT development for rural farmers in partnership with relevant public and private sector players. It seeks to provide lessons for other 'ICT for Development' (ICT4D) projects using a market systems approach.

Main findings

  • The projects led to increased recognition of market potential at the bottom of the pyramid (BoP) level. The community information centres (CICs) increased their products and services from only 11 in 2007 to 27 in 2011. Increased investment was also noted in the helpline, with corporate partners adding new helplines for both small business and health in addition to the agricultural helpline
  • The outreach of the CICs where e-krishok was promoted has been significantly higher than the non-promoted CICs; promoted CICs noted a 2-3 times greater increase in the number of beneficiaries
  • On the agricultural helpline, the review notes a 57 per cent service-to-user benefit. Additionally significant increases were noted in the number of relevant callers, from 9,454 in 2010 to 84,660 in 2012
  • It recommends the need for specific targeting of both the poor and rural women, noting 2/5 of beneficiaries to be non-poor and low proportion of female customers (less than 3 per cent).

Intervention description

Katalyst interventions ranged from development of community information centres (CICs) which provided a bundle of services to a call centre model for providing agricultural information. The project (through the various interventions) involved content development, service innovation, marketing, capacity building and policy guidance.

Evidence methodology

  • The review uses a mixed methods approach to analyse impact at different levels, including market systems change, pro-poor outreach for each of the services and micro-level impact on farming households.
  • The data sources include interviews, project surveys and reports. Quantitative data on proportion of total customers that have recorded a benefit, measurement of repeat user rates and results of Progress out of Poverty Index (PPI) assessment are analysed. 
  • Qualitative information on expansion of rural ICT services and innovation is also reviewed.

Useful for:

Rural / agricultural ICT4D interventions, BoP approaches to market development.