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Step 8 Training Materials - Market Opportunity Groups Handout


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A handout that should be used with the step 8 training materials, which can be found at

The handout should be used in the Multi-Actor Forums and Market Opportunity Groups session.

Print one copy per participant.

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Step 8 Training Materials - Market Opportunity Groups Handout

  1. 1. TRAINING MATERIALS: MODULE 8Market Opportunity Groups handoutMarket opportunity groups are small groups (5-10 people) of representatives of marginalised producers.They are normally selected democratically or through consensus amongst larger numbers of peers.Market opportunity groups act as mobilisers of wider groups of marginalised producers, and as a bridgebetween these and the members of the participatory market mapping workshops and in subsequentgroups or forums such as the interest forum, designed to take action on areas of mutual interest. Thedegree to which they can be effective in these two functions will have a significant effect on howinclusive and scalable the process of market development is.The first phase of working with a market opportunity group will involve capacity building exercises toprepare them to make the most of the Participatory Market Mapping Workshops (see Step 4:Empowering Marginalised Actors); the second phase will be facilitating their involvement in the forumsas well as identifying additional opportunities to pursue. Throughout this time it is essential thatcommunication between the market opportunity group and the producers they represent is frequent andeffective.Top Tips, lessons and recommendations for Market Opportunity Groups: Members of the market opportunity group should be clear about its purpose: it exists to focus market literacy and interaction skills to a manageable group of representatives who can engage with other market actors, and to help other producers take advantage of opportunities and overcome emerging challenges. The market opportunity group is not expected to become an exclusive group that allows a small number of individuals to capture benefits from new arrangements for themselves and widen the marginalisation of others in their community. Project facilitators should make it clear to the market opportunity groups that this is what they will support them with, and engage in adequate monitoring to track whether benefits from interaction with market actors is reaching producers who are not part of the market opportunity groups. Members of the market opportunity group should be appointed through a process that suits both the community it represents and the project facilitators. The project facilitators should encourage the appointment of market opportunity group members who lead by example and who are confident and articulate. On the other hand, the project facilitators should ensure that community members, including disadvantaged groups, have their say in who should be appointed and feel comfortable with the decisions that are made. The project facilitators should therefore not enforce a particular appointment or election approach. Communities often know who their trusted leaders are and project-imposed ways of selecting the market opportunity groups can sometimes result in the right individual not making the group. In any case, it is very important that the communities are also very clear about the purpose of the market opportunity groups so that they can elect / appoint the best people “for the job” Women’s inclusion: Seek to involve women in the process of selection and have the market opportunity group include as many women as is appropriate. The case of the guar bean market system in Zimbabwe, the project team were able to achieve a women’s membership of the market opportunity groups of 90 %. Many of these women were entirely new to this type of process, but proved in time to be very resourceful, strategic, committed, and as a result effective in their market opportunity group roles.Beta Version 1 – Aug 2012 1
  2. 2. TRAINING MATERIALS: MODULE 8Examples from the field: Cajamarca cheese: reputational risks mobilise cheese producers to form an association:Cheese producers in the Cajamarca region in Peru are mainly small-holder farmers, who used to see themselvesand were seen by others as the decisive factor in the quality of cheese. Consequently, they tried to improve theirknow-how, technologies and processes on their own or with the help of the government and NGOs. However theyrealised that their individual actions were not enough to improve and maintain the quality of their cheese, becausethe product was being contaminated and mishandled by other actors over whom they had no control (e.g.inappropriate refrigeration and transport). To tackle this problem (and sense of powerlessness), they decided toform their own association: the Asociación de Productores de Derivados Lácteos (Association of Dairy Producers).The association advocated for a project called Competitive Cajamarca Cheese which contributed to raising qualitystandards in increase sales. They also participated in the Codelac meetings that led to the creation of the annualDairy Festival.Beta Version 1 – Aug 2012 2