Abt Applies Buyer-led, Market Systems Approach in Cambodia
- Cambodians want new approaches to accelerate horticulture sector growth.
- Harvest II builds commercial partnerships and supports system-level change.
- Buyers and producers are collaborating, improving practices, and boosting sales.
Millions of Cambodians have risen from poverty, yet many still are highly vulnerable. Accelerating growth of the horticulture sector would bring new opportunities, enabling farmers to benefit from higher-value crops. But horticulture in Cambodia is not well developed (half of the vegetables in the country are imported) and those trying to expand operations face many constraints. USAID, through Feed the Future Cambodia, decided to take a multi-pronged approach, building capacity, market linkages, the policy environment and the market system itself.
Harvest II’s buyer-led/market systems approach begins with the buyer as the key entry point to the market system. It brings the buyer together with other market actors – producers, input suppliers, financial institutions – to meet market demand and grow their businesses together over time. The approach also looks to strengthen key functions of the market system more broadly, seeking solutions to common problems such as those related to input supply or the need for tailored financial products.
Two years into the project, Harvest II has strengthened connections among horticultural actors and is helping them take a more comprehensive approach to supply chain management. By the end of the project’s second year, Harvest II had helped partners increase sales by more than $11 million and expand investment by $4.1 million. The project has also facilitated creative initiatives with the potential for system-level impact. For example, with project support in early 2019, a Cambodian microfinance institution launched the first version of a mobile app that will give its farmer borrowers access to improved production information and ultimately reduce default rates.