Making markets work for poor people

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The Markets and Livelihoods programme in Sudan contributed towards strengthening the viability of smallholder farming and empowering women's non-farm enterprises to benefit from markets.

This was achieved through improving and sustaining production and access to reliable, high value products by strengthening their organisational capabilities and enabling them to formulate and articulate their own strategies for livelihood diversification.

The programmes main focus was to develop small producers' organisational and mutual collaboration and come up with effective models of cooperation for links with market actors and other stakeholders. This helped to create sustainable markets for technologies and other services through linking small producers with service providers. This can be done by bringing all stakeholders together through forums for a better policy environment.

Access to markets is no longer a separate programme, but is now embedded in all our work as a cross-cutting theme.

Projects implemented under this programme aim included:

  • Making hibiscus (karkadeh) markets work for poor farmers in North Kordofan and North Darfur
  • Improving Women Status (IWS) in Kassala and Gedarif States
  • Improving animal health and livestock markets in Kassala
  • Developing pro-poor agricultural markets in North Darfur / building the resilience of rural communities in North Darfur to food insecurity
  • Scaling up the empowerment of CSOs (North Darfur, Eastern Sudan, Blue Nile)

Completed projects:

The blacksmiths of North Darfur supplying farmers with necessary tools

Since 1988 Practical Action has trained over 200 blacksmiths in Darfur on the production and marketing of tools. They have learnt to increase their capacity in Community Based Organisations so now they are able to sustain the supply of new materials and equipment.

During 2004-5, the blacksmiths of El Fashir were commissioned by the International Committee of the Red Cross and Practical Action to produce about 70,000 assorted tools. The blacksmiths were pleased to have won the contract and achieved this task.

  • Each individual got an income of about approximately US $1,600.
  • Five of the young blacksmiths got married immediately after they had completed the job and got their final payment.
  • They all managed to pay government fees for their new workshop sites and they have now acquired workspace of 9m each at El Fashir market.
  • The money provided a capital sum for them to buy all the necessary equipment and raw material, preparing them for the next rainy season.

This intervention has provided an excellent opportunity for increasing the capacity of local tool manufacturing. "Before executing this contract, we were sitting in the market doing very little work, mainly sharpening knives and axes, hardly meeting our families' requirements," said Yahia Mogu.

In addition to enhancing the capacity of local manufacturing, the project also ensures the production of tools appropriate to the area as in the past, NGOs used to import ready made tools from Khartoum which were not of the required quality and technical specifications.

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