Improving the food security of the extremely poor by linking them to markets
This article draws lessons from ACDI/VOCA, CARE, and World Vision-implemented food security programmes to answer three questions: how can push/pull activities better integrate the extremely poor into 1) output and 2) input markets? And 3) how can push/pull programme activities help improve intra-household gender dynamics and financial decision-making to improve the food and nutrition security of household members? In output markets the lessons include: 1) that market development and savings group interventions can be implemented by the same officer; and 2) projects should move early to have a private sector provider take over the village savings and loan associations. While there are constraints in the input markets, there are also push strategies for increasing production, including direct delivery of inputs to farmers, vouchers to increase demand, and Farmer Business Group development to increase collective input buying and pull strategies such as linkages with buyers for the selling of products and tapering down subsidies. Intrahousehold gender equitable decision-making can positively impact the food security of the household members. Mixed gender Village Economic and Social Associations are efficient in tackling intra-household decision-making. This allows the provision of flexible and efficient financial services as well as an opportunity to engage husbands and wives in gender-related dialogues.