iDE Global

Trade Fairs for Farmers

One-stop shopping restores livelihoods, especially after disasters

Smallholder rural farmers face a range of challenges to accessing quality inputs, such as improved seeds and fertilizers. Suppliers prefer to sell products and services to larger commercial operations, which purchase inputs in bulk. The cost of transporting goods to remote, low density areas also creates a significant market barrier. But by organizing trade fairs, which deliver a critical mass of farmers to one location, a market linkage is created that benefits both suppliers and smallholders. The fairs provide marginalized groups with access to inputs and advice about what works best. Farmers are encouraged to choose products that fit their needs.

These Input Trade and Technology Fairs (ITTFs) are held by iDE to support smallholder farmers—particularly those recovering from shocks such as conflict and extreme weather events. The fairs provide farmers with access to private suppliers and local producers of certified agricultural products. Farmers are given cards loaded with small amounts of money to purchase agricultural inputs including seeds, fertilizers and tools such as watering cans and shovels.


Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020 iDE Mozambique held 11 ITTFs, attracting 18,000 smallholder farmers. The fairs were held in the wake of cyclones which destroyed livelihoods and displaced hundreds of thousands. The farmers were selected in partnership with local authorities. Mindful of social distancing, farmers were transported to and from the fairs by iDE, and ushered through in small groups.


At iDE we believe our Infinite Model provides a comprehensive technical framework illustrating how iDE's diverse program activities assist market participants access and utilize products, services, and knowledge, enabling them to experience inclusive economic growth. Providing farmers in rural and remote areas with access to agricultural inputs is a fundamental part of this process. The fairs create opportunities for the equitable distribution of products, services, and information that connect large and small scale markets.

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Farm Business Advisors

FBAs provide an essential last-mile link between agricultural input suppliers and farmers located in remote areas far from commercial centers.

Read more: An essential part of iDE's approach to creating hubs of resilience for farmers.