The Participatory Market Chain Approach (PMCA) is a flexible R&D approach that engages small farmers, market agents, researchers, and other service providers in a facilitated collective action that aims at identifying and exploiting potential business opportunities that benefit small-scale producers and other chain actors. The approach was developed by the International Potato Center (CIP) and first applied in the Andes before spreading to SSA, Asia and other parts of the world.
The PMCA offers a practical way to conduct R&D that supports pro-poor innovation in agricultural market chains. The approach brings the key stakeholders in an innovation process – including farmers, market agents, researchers, and other service providers – together to jointly identify, assess and exploit new business opportunities. Through this interaction, the PMCA triggers innovation processes. Experience indicates that the PMCA is most effective when implemented as part of a multi-pronged gender responsive initiative that includes support for farmer organizations, business development, policy change, and public awareness. When the PMCA is applied with appropriate complementary measures, it can assist smallholders improve their participation in dynamic markets and improve their livelihoods.