A seminar titled “Inclusive market development in agriculture Sector of Bangladesh: scopes and opportunities.” was held on the 15th of June at 3pm, 2016 at the Chitra Hall, Pan Pacific Sonargaon, Dhaka. The seminar was jointly organized by Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) and Agribusiness for Trade Competitiveness Project (ATC-P) branded as Katalyst. In that seminar Mr. Hedayetullah Al Mamoon, ndc, Senior Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, was present as the chief guest; Mr. Md. Ashraf Ali Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Project Director of ATC-P and Mr. Markus Ehmann, General Manager, Katalyst were also present as special guests . The seminar was Chaired by Dr. MA Sattar Mondal Former Vice Chancellor, Bangladesh Agricultural University and Former Member, Planning Commission of Bangladesh. Key note presentation was made by Dr. Nazneen Ahmed, Senior Research Fellow and Dr. M. Harunur Rashid Bhuiyan, Research Fellow of BIDS. The participants included government officials and representatives from non-government agencies, researchers, private sector representatives and media.
The seminar was organized to disseminate a report produced under a study by BIDS with support from Katalyst. The study explored that in Bangladesh, the main focus of national policies is to achieve sustainable growth and alleviate poverty. It is commonly perceived that poverty alleviation is the responsibility of the government. Private sector’s involvement in poverty reduction is mainly perceived from their involvement in getting supply of labour, collecting raw materials from poor (where applicable) and operating labour-intensive distribution process. In addition, their activities under corporate social responsibility are also linked to some extent to poverty reduction. In recent years social business has emerged as another avenue of private sector’s involvement in poverty reduction. While these private sector initiatives have been successful in creating employment for poor and in that connection to express essence of inclusivity to a large extent, they have limitations in terms of making poor self-reliant to progress fast and in a sustainable way. Therefore for last couple years, the approach of inclusive market development (IMD) has been promoted by various international organizations and development partners. This approach goes beyond above mentioned traditional ‘business as usual’ models to make poor people more integrated in the market so that they can attain sustainable economic development. The approach is mainly based on the notion of making markets work for the poor.
The study has discussed various concepts of IMD and has attempted to associate those concepts with various sub-sectors in agriculture so that a guideline can be developed for introducing and encouraging inclusive business in those sectors. The analysis in this report covers basic principles of IMD approach and its role in poverty reduction; its application in three sectors- fisheries, vegetables and agricultural inputs (seed and fertilizer); possibilities to promote IMD approach further in Bangladesh by making policy environment more suitable for private sector to practice this model.