Dar es Salaam: The Rural Livelihood Development Company [RLDC] plans to improve the welfare of about 800,000 households by the end of this year. The RLDC chief executive officer, Mr Charles Ogutu, told Business Week that the company was on track to achieve the target, meant to boost lives of rural dwellers. 'A large part of the total population in the six regions of the central corridor where we are working will be better off by the end of 2011,' he said recently.
The goal, he said, would be realised through linking rural producers - who are mostly small scale farmers - to markets, a vital step in poverty reduction efforts. This will be possible due to a system, developed by the firm, that is known as ‘making Markets work better 4 the Poor [M4P].
The company, he said, has developed a monitoring system to enable it to measure how its [the firm’s] activities impact on lives of poor rural dwellers.
M4P aims at changing market systems such as regulations, tax policies, access to financial services in a way that they help to improve productivity in the rural areas.
RLDC is among very few organisations in Africa that have successfully implemented the M4P approach in the rural African context.
The programme is currently addressing market constraints in six sub-sectors namely cotton, sunflower, rice, dairy, poultry and rural radio.
However, he said that RLDC is also looking for microfinance institutions [MFI] extending micro-credit schemes to smallholder farmers so that they can afford to purchase agricultural inputs and improve efficiency in marketing agricultural produce.
For that purpose, Empowerment Enterprises of Africa [EEA] will customise their loan product programme to meet the specific needs of agricultural small-scale business.