Developing Input Dealers
To maximise productivity, poor livestock producers need to be able to purchase high quality ‘inputs’ such as feed and vaccines for their cattle. Prior to the project, char dwellers had to travel long distances, often several hours long, if they wanted to purchase these inputs. They also had to pay the costs of these journeys, which made purchasing these inputs significantly more expensive.
CLP helps facilitate the development of input dealers who are based on the chars, often within close walking distance. Because these businesses make a profit from selling inputs to poor producers there are clear business incentives to carry out this role, both now and in the future. In doing so, they increase the productivity and profits of poor producers.
Promoting Access to Finance
To purchase the high quality inputs required to increase productivity, poor producers require access to appropriate sources of credit. Although Bangladesh has an extremely well-developed micro-finance sector, prior to the project very few micro-finance service providers were offering credit to char-dwellers.
CLP has engaged with a variety of micro-finance service providers to make them aware of the business opportunity of providing credit to char-producers, to communicate the financial needs of char producers and to provide guidance about how to develop tailored financial products.
Improving Coordination Between Market Actors
A central component of the Market Development strategy is to foster the development of two institutions – business groups and Char Business Centres (CBCs). Business groups operate at village level and are made up of producers from a single sector. They aim to provide a focal point for producers to interact collectively with traders and input sellers, making it more attractive for other businesses to trade with poor producers.
The key feature of the second institution – CBCs – is that they not only include producers, but input service providers and buyers as well. These actors meet regularly to discuss improvements to the way they do business together. This could involve producers telling input suppliers how much they want to buy and when, so that input suppliers order the right amount and deliver on time. Or it could involve planning ways to make transactions more efficient, such as the creation of collection points for milk. But the aim is the same – to co-ordinate the way different actors do business in order to generate win-win situations for everyone.
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