CAVAC’s main aim is to generate lasting increases in income for poor households by stimulating systemic changes in support markets.
A distinguishing feature of CAVAC is that it does not work with farmers directly, but instead works with businesses and public sector players who supply key products and services to smallholder farmers. These market players include for example seed producers, fertiliser retailers, rice millers, traders, exporters, media, research institutions, farmers’ associations and government agencies. This might seem counter-intuitive or inefficient, but CAVAC has begun to demonstrate that when businesses have the right incentives to improve support to farmers and when early adopters champion the change, more productive farming practices take root and lift more and more people out of poverty.
Giving poor, smallholder farmers high-quality seeds, fertilizer, insecticides or equipment would help them increase their yields today, but the system that they rely on for inputs for the next season will remain unfit for their purposes and the cycle of poverty could start again. Together with farmers, government officials and businesses, CAVAC identifies the root problems keeping farmers from producing more rice and vegetables. These might include limited access to irrigation, outdated farming methods, low-quality seeds or inappropriate fertiliser. CAVAC then devises schemes in which all players benefit from adopting innovations that eliminate the constraints to growth.