Designing a high-impact market development programme for Southern and Eastern Africa
Addressing the issues of access to agricultural markets affecting people in Central and Southern Africa
In 2010, we were commissioned by Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and one of its subsidiary agencies, Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA) to design a high-impact market development programme for the free trade area of Southern and Eastern Africa.
ACTESA ultimately works to decrease food shortages by improving trade of food staples such as maize, beans, cassava, sorghum and rice by promoting sufficient production, good storage and supply across borders as the staples are transported, whilst better integrating smallholder farmers into the developing market place.
Our adviser worked with ACTESA’s Director of Production and Market Development to support the design of the Strengthening Markets and Regional Trade for Food Security (SMART-FS) programme.
The programme was aimed at expanding market facilities and services, and increasing commercial integration of staple foods. The central aim of the project was to develop a market and trade support facility that triggers actions to enhance value-chain development and agricultural commodity trade in the region.
Key project activities included designing an organizational model that took into account ACTESA’s staff capacities, and ensuring that gender development and HIV-AIDS awareness and mitigation were closely integrated into the programme’s design.
We identified opportunities and interests of the organisation’s key stakeholder groups, including beneficiaries, employees, partners, government, and local groups. Key focal sectors (including grains and pulses, oil seeds, roots and tubers, livestock and fisheries, horticulture, forest and natural resource products, tree and plantation crops, and agricultural inputs) were recognised and assessed.
We then developed communication objectives and strategies for the project in relation to key stakeholders, and outlined its implementation strategy.