Market analysis and development: building sustainable forest and farm-based smallholder businesses

Training courses run by the Forest and Farm Facility are helping local forest and farm producers generate income in sustainable ways.

Article, 07 September 2023
Screenshot of a video call with several head and shoulder images.

MA&D online training participants (Photo: Ali Logan Pang/IIED)

In March 2023 the Forest and Farm Facility (FFF) ran refresher training on the market analysis and development (MA&D) approach designed to enable local forest and farm producers to develop sustainable income-generating enterprises.

The FFF is committed to increasing entrepreneurship as well as access to markets and finance through business development services within forest and farm producer organisations (FFPOs), and FFPO members took part in a four-day online course about the MA&D approach.

This approach empowers local producers, manufacturers and traders to be primary actors in planning and developing equitable and sustainable enterprises.

The MA&D methodology is based on participatory principles and empowerment rather than on direct intervention in people’s livelihoods. It uses a facilitative approach to help ‘entrepreneurs’ rather than ‘beneficiaries’ know and control all elements of their enterprises.

MA&D enables entrepreneurs to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to undertake sustainable livelihood development activities that will continue after the training ends and external support has finished.

Sustainability is a key element of MA&D. The approach allows entrepreneurs to continuously screen five crucial areas that may impact on entrepreneurial success. These are:

  1. Market/economy
  2. Natural resource management
  3. Social/cultural concerns
  4. Institutional and legal context, and
  5. Technology and research and development.

The MA&D capacity building toolkit is a key way the FFF supports collective entrepreneurship and business incubation for FFPOs and their members based around a basket of products.

During the sessions, the training participants – FFPO staff in charge of providing business incubation services to members – had the opportunity to clarify any concerns or questions from using MA&D in the past and to learn from other MA&D implementers’ experiences.

The objective of the training was to enable participants to themselves train MA&D field facilitators and MA&D trainers in their respective contexts, with the long-term aim to institutionalise MA&D capacity development within FFPOs.

The fully participatory training course ran over four 2.5-hour sessions. It covered the entire MA&D process including its preparatory activities. Participants were guided through each phase step-by-step with a focus on allowing ample space for them to share their experiences in implementing MA&D and to ask questions.

The full recordings for each day are provided below.

Day 1 (in English / en français):

  • Basic principles of MA&D
  • Preliminary phase – setting the context
  • Phase 1 – assessing the existing situation

Day 2 (in English / en français): Phase 2 – carrying out surveys to select products and identify enterprise ideas

Day 3 (in English) / (en français): Phase 3 – preparing the enterprise development plan

Day 4 (in English) / (en français): Phase 4 – supporting the start-up phase of the enterprises

This is a playlist with all the recordings in English and French. You can also watch the playlist on IIED's YouTube channel.