Business linkages and producer groups in Bangladesh – options for rural microenterprise development
The difficulties of providing poorer microenterprises with BDS may sometimes be overcome by encouraging them to form groups and market their produce collectively. This article describes the experience of the USAID-funded JOBS Project in Bangladesh as it worked with three groups of microenterprises – the Bogra Handicrafts Association, the Modhupur Pineapple Association, and the Shafipur and Mirpur footwear producer groups – to improve their market linkages. Perhaps surprisingly, a greater degree of independence and market strength was eventually achieved with the pineapple farmers and the shoemakers, for whom the JOBS Project intervened directly to arrange technical assistance and marketing linkages, than for the handicraft workers, who received BDS through an NGO/MFI. How these three projects shed light on ideas about building the market for BDS for microenterprises is discussed.