Mapping the market: participatory market-chain development in practice
Market mapping is 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. This article describes a participatory approach to market-chain development that has evolved around market mapping processes, with the example given of the market map for aloe in Kenya. Practical Action has found a number of processes are effective in ensuring positive engagaement and outcomes. For example, 'market opportunity groups' are formed to represent and empower producers, enabling them to negotiate with other market chain actors with greater confidence. Interest forums, on the other hand, include decision-makers with influence at local, national and sometimes international levels. Four short case studies of market-chain development work in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Peru and Sudan are presented, which demonstrate how these elements can assist in participatory market-chain analysis, making the move from analysis to action more effective.