USAID/East Africa Market Linkages Initiative: Lessons Learned and Implications for Food Security
The USAID/East Africa Market Linkages Initiative (MLI) was a two-year regional program, implemented by CARANA Corporation, to promote growth in food staples and food security, working alongside partners such as ACTESA (Alliance for Common Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa) to integrate smallholder farmers into more efficient national and regional markets. MLI worked in Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Burundi, Rwanda, the Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan.
MLI was a pioneering project — one of only a few USAID food security projects worldwide focusing on increasing marketing and storage efficiency in the staple food commodity markets. As a result, CARANA undertook a study to identify key lessons learned from the MLI project, and how the impact of leveraged, market-based improvements in staple value chains can have transformative, sustainable, and scalable benefits that enhance smallholder food security.