Systemic change takes place when a market system sustainably and irreversibly changes to include and benefit small and poor farmers, providing them with access to quality inputs, products, services and information.
Small farmers depend on market systems. On one side, farmers need proper access to markets in order to sell their produce for a fair price and to earn a living. On the other side, small farmers need access to inputs, products, services, and information that help them to continuously improve their farming practices and to use better inputs and technologies, leading to higher incomes.
All too often however, small farmers are excluded from successfully participating in the market systems as they are seen only as marginal actors. As a consequence, farmers miss out on modern cultivation methods that would provide better yields, they mostly use inferior inputs such as fertiliser or pesticide that damage their harvest, and they do not get a fair price for their hard and dedicated work.
Katalyst aims to change this scenario by facilitating systemic change across selected agricultural sectors: The project identifies the weaknesses of the existing market systems and analyses how and why they exclude small farmers. Katalyst then works together with the public and private sectors in order to change the market systems and make them more inclusive by integrating poor farmers in them.
This is what systemic change is all about: When a market system, for instance the vegetable, maize or farmed fish system, sustainably and irreversibly changes in a way that small farmers are no longer excluded but they can effectively participate in it and increase their incomes, systemic change is taking place.