Market Systems 

Our Approach

ACDI/VOCA is a leader in the value chain approach to international development. We analyze the larger market system and identify factors that constrain market actors from reaching their full potential. We share learning to promote market participation and financial inclusion of marginalized groups. Our partnerships with the private sector, governments, and other NGOs build the capacities of individuals and organizations to engage more competitively, creating strong local institutions that deliver meaningful services and support. We trigger systemic change in market relationships, norms, and policies to stimulate broad-based economic growth.

“We are proud to be associated with this activity, and we look forward to strengthening cooperatives and expanding markets for smallholder farmers.”
—Noy Mwanamakondo,
local partner for Zambia PROFIT+

Ethiopia AMDe coffee 

Value Chains

As a leader in fostering the value chain approach to development, we look at the larger market system and align the incentives of stakeholders to promote market participation and market inclusion for marginalized groups. We implement USAID’s Leveraging Economic Opportunities (LEO) project, which aims to improve USAID programming by enabling the development of inclusive market systems. To support this process, we developed a framework that defines market systems and provides general guidelines for interventions.

two people with quinoa 


To ensure both genders have equal access to inclusive market systems, we provide women and men business skills training and foster their access to markets and credit. Where women are traditionally excluded from market-system involvement, we facilitate the formation of women’s groups to bring them market power and increase the number of women in business leadership roles.

Ignitia weather forcasting app mobile 


Mobile technology has a lot to offer as we construct inclusive market systems in partnership with our project participants. Mobile technology makes market system components like payroll, purchasing, market information systems, and traceability more accessible, more secure, and more discreet.

Group of young girls 


As young people are typically the innovators in market systems, we value youth groups that empower the next generation to lead itself. Our projects provide youth with mentoring opportunities through which they build numeracy and literacy competencies thanks to the involvement of more experienced community members.

Group of people gathered for a lecture 

Institutional Strengthening

The strengthening of public- and private-sector actors to increase the competitiveness, inclusiveness, and resilience of target market systems is central to ACDI/VOCA’s work. To achieve this, we assist a variety of market-system actors. We work with international and national companies, host-country governments, bi- and multilateral institutions, and other donors and clients to map and analyze local market systems and identify high-value partners and investment opportunities. We assist market-system actors as they improve their organizational and business management systems and practices, increase access to information and services, mobilize resources, expand and strengthen business networks, and structure new business partnerships. We facilitate collaborative public – private partnerships and productive business alliances that:

  • Create new opportunities for market system actors to innovate and compete
  • Minimize barriers that often preclude women, youth, and other marginalized groups from profitably engaging in markets
Savings & Credit 


We identify and develop various entry points as which market actors—smallholder farmers, agribusinesses, financial institutions—can benefit from enhanced financial services. We believe that healthy economies require robust financial ecosystems to thrive.

Tajikistan tractor 

Private-Sector Partnerships

We bring our on-the-ground knowledge, sector expertise, and focus on impact and measurement to our private-sector partnerships. As a leader in identifying investment opportunities for the private sector that leverage public programs, we match stakeholders’ needs and resources. Each capitalizes on the other’s expertise to achieve mutual goals.

Afghanistan market 


Through ACDI/VOCA’s commitment to engaging with actors along the value chain, nutrition-sensitive interventions are able to affect not only families at the household level, but also assist people move beyond subsistence farming, thereby creating sustainable change as they are better able to access market-system opportunities.  Our market-system approach creates linkages that increase incomes, create demand for nutrient-rich crops, and are inclusive of women.  Nutrition-sensitive interventions ensure that market-system activities support sustainable improvements to nutrition status.

nutrition pathways to agriculture


Related Projects

woman in maize field

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USAID-Funded Program Supports East African Partners’ Efforts to Reduce Poverty Through Agriculture RELATED NEWS See More Summary Through the USAID/East …


Signature Tool STICKS


Too often when development programs impart messaging through cascade trainings, the message’s accuracy diminishes as it moves from person to person. With STICKS, beneficiaries receive a consistent message through a simple process that promotes social cohesion and enables the monitoring of adoption. The STICKS tool empowers project staff, field extension agents, and community leaders to communicate vital behavioral change information to beneficiaries.

Signature Tool Sell More For More

Sell More For More

Smallholder farmers have difficulty accessing markets due to limited product volume and inconsistent quality. Belonging to a well-managed group can link farmers to these markets. Sell More For More (SMFM) empowers farmer cooperatives and aggregators to develop marketing plans and meet buyer specifications. SMFM develops the capacity of these groups to sell more product for more income.

Related News

Ghana ADVANCE II Techiman Maize tradersTechiman Maize traders

Field Notes from Ghana: Part II

It’s so hard to believe that I have only been working with the farmers of the Techiman Maize Traders Association …

Kenya Regal-Ag ACDI/VOCA Samuel

Upgraded Market Becomes Hub of Activity in Kenya’s Arid Lands

Samuel Lekorima, an LMA member In the past, markets in Isiolo and Marsabit Counties were simple affairs: an open space …

Connect To Markets

We shape sustainable solutions that productively engage people in local and global markets. We’ll insightfully implement your next program.

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