The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) undertook an evaluation synthesis on smallholder farmers' access to markets. The exercise was based on a desk review, mainly IOE evaluations conducted between 2005 and 2015, complemented by interviews and a review of external literature.
The evaluation synthesis confirms that IFAD's approach and interventions in this area have diversified and improved. IFAD has indeed accumulated experience and institutional knowledge to continue and further enhance its support. Among other factors for effective interventions, the report pointed out the importance of sound and timely market analysis and a market-oriented approach, as well as capacity development of smallholders to interact with markets on better terms. Interventions should be sufficiently flexible to respond to local contexts and specific needs, with attention to risks smallholder farmers might face by altering their economic strategies. Future support deserves more careful reflection on impact pathways from better market access to a common objective of “improved household food security”, and effective and timely monitoring of project performance that takes into consideration changing market contexts.