Role of inclusive market systems development in promoting resilience: evidence from World Vision projects
Evidence on whether market systems development (MSD) programmes for extremely poor smallholder farmers in low-income countries are associated with resilient outcomes when shocks/stressors appear is limited. We discuss the role of the inclusive MSD (iMSD) approach to generate resilience among vulnerable populations and report empirical evidence from World Vision’s project areas (with iMSD activities) and comparison communities in Tanzania and Rwanda. The panel data collected between 2017 and 2021 provide evidence on differences in household-level resilience in the face of COVID-19 shock. Descriptive estimates from the 2021 survey show project households had statistically greater food security, market participation, and perception of being fully/partially recovered than comparison households in both Tanzania and Rwanda. Integration in market systems helped buffer participants. Though food insecurity declined between survey rounds in Tanzania, it worsened in Rwanda, but more so among comparison households. Respondents in Rwanda experienced stricter COVID-19 ‘lockdowns’ and more limited iMSD activities than Tanzanians.
Market-based approaches to food security often increase agricultural productivity and income yet sometimes fail to enhance nutrition. When food security programming combines market and food systems with a specific focus on women and girls, economic and nutrition outcomes benefit. We identify distinctive and shared elements from market and food systems and highlight how they enhance nutrition outcomes when they are combined. We describe food security programming by CARE and World Vision in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, demonstrating nutrition gains in food insecure households.