Lessons & recommendations for promoting structured trade & systemic change in market development programmes

FoodTrade East and Southern Africa (2013-2018) was a regional programme funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) UK (£35 million) that supported food staples market development and trade by tackling market failures. FTESA aimed to:

• Catalyse lasting changes that enable efficient trade in staple foods across the region, including greater price and market stability.
• Invest in systems that facilitated smallholder farmers to access wider and better markets.
• The programme worked with the private sector and other partners to tackle market failures to improve post-harvest and input markets, and to reduce policy uncertainty. A Programme Management Unit (PMU) was responsible for managing programme implementation.

This note presents lessons and recommendations on how market development programmes can promote structured trade and systemic change, drawing on the findings of the recently completed final evaluation of FoodTrade East and Southern Africa (FTESA), a market development programme. We use a simple definition of ‘systemic change’: changes in the underlying causes of market system performance that lead to large scale changes in behaviour.

Authors: Liz Turner and Jessica Rust-Smith.