Increasing Inclusion in Commercial Markets: Lessons Learned at Cracking the Nut® 2019

March 19, 2020

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Photo description: A woman sells fish at a market in Togo.
Credit: Feed the Future

This blog, authored by Alby Delgado from Connexus Corporation, provides a high-level overview of the content covered during the Cracking the Nut conference held on October 14-15, 2019. For more information on the conference, please read this blog post from Lori Reid covering key takeaways from some of the sessions.

The vibrant city of Dakar, Senegal was the perfect host for this year’s Cracking the Nut® conference from October 14-15, 2019. This Connexus-led event brought together practitioners from all over the world to discuss the overarching theme of “Leveraging Systems for Improved Food Security,” and the three breakout themes: 1) Reducing Systemic Risks, 2) Improving Nutrition, Health, and Access to Clean Water, and 3) Increasing Inclusion in Commercial Markets.

This two-day learning space wove the discussions into 18 break-out sessions, which encouraged participants to think critically about solutions for tackling food insecurity and lack of market inclusion for vulnerable populations, i.e. women, youth, and people with disabilities (PWDs). Market Inclusion took the front seat in theme three, “Inclusion in Commercial Markets,” which examined ways to entice the private sector to be more inclusive of vulnerable populations and leverage existing systems to address the needs of high-risk populations to successfully breakdown entry barriers. Theme three sessions emphasized that a strong market system cannot flourish without incorporating women, youth, and PWDs.

The “Increasing Inclusion in Commercial Markets” theme’s breakout sessions were engaging and brought forth vital ideas that continue to resonate around the narrative of market inclusion, including:

  • The need to incorporate vulnerable populations from the get-go in project design, implementation, and trainings, especially when building key partnerships with stakeholders in both the public and private sectors;
  • Reducing barriers and enticing key stakeholders (both public and private) to invest in vulnerable populations by creating opportunities that breakdown barriers at a macro and micro level;
  • Investing in vulnerable populations means building their knowledge; those with information have a key that opens opportunities, assistance, and resources to significantly improve their livelihoods.

The discussions detailed above are only a snippet of ideas captured at Cracking the Nut® 2019. We are thankful for all the organizations that presented and added their ingredients to this pot of gumbo that is the Cracking the Nut publication, which aims to summarize these ideas and provide concrete examples that contribute to tackling the “tough nuts” related to food insecurity and market exclusion.

The Cracking the Nut publication is available to the public and easily accessible on the conference website. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive future Cracking the Nut® conference related content.

The full Cracking the Nut publication is also available for download.