Smoothly functioning food markets are vital for food security. They give smallholder farmers incentives to generate a surplus they can sell, and to invest in new production and postharvest management technologies. They also ensure that food reaches consumers in deficit areas. In doing so, they contribute to food security and higher incomes, the main goal of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
In 2008, AGRA set up its Market Access Programme to complement the work of its other programmes on seed systems, soil health and policy. The Market Access Programme came into being as a result of the realization that increased productivity is not enough to lead to food security and improved livelihoods. If the higher output does not find its way to a market system that is well prepared to receive, store and distribute it, little will change.
Four years after the programme was established, AGRA felt it was time to review its achievements and challenges, and most importantly, reflect on the assumptions highlighted above. AGRA asked the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) to help with this review. It resulted in three main products. The first is this book.