Roots, tubers and bananas pose special challenges for the value chains that make agricultural produce available to consumers.
They are bulky and perishable, and often produced by smallholder farmers who may be some distance from markets. Farmers are often not aware of market demands, and intermediaries such as traders and processors are hampered by high transaction costs, uneven quality and fluctuating small volumes of produce.
Originally developed by the International Potato Center (CIP), the Participatory Market Chain Approach (PMCA) increases trust, confidence and linkages among actors on the value chain. RTB has used PMCA in many of the areas where it works to promote gender-equitable market development. A noted early success was the Papa Andina Initiative, which developed a market for the colorful and delicious indigenous potato varieties grown by communities in the high Andes. Women, especially, benefited from the project. Many were able to purchase land in their own name and many more gained access to credit to invest in their businesses.