Some solutions are simple - not easy, but simple. This is the case - the farmers we support grow perishable vegetables for the urban market. They are good at what they do, the produce is good and in the cities the demand is plentiful. Just one problem - getting that produce from rural fields to the city tables can be very difficult for a rural farmer. In addition it can be so costly as to make the whole enterprise not worthwhile for the farmer.
Rural roads can quite bad, and very few transport operators are willing to do these routes. This combination of perishable produce and limited transport creates a market for middlemen who buy the produce cheap and resell for a profit. For the farmers this is the choice - pay the middlemen or run the risk of the tomatoes rotting in the fields while waiting for transport. But both these options pretty much wipe out the farmer's profit.
This is the simple solution - provide reliable, affordable transport for the farmers. This lets farmers do what they do best - they can plan, knowing they will be able to move the produce to the market, knowing exactly what that will cost them, and what profits they will make. This simple fact unlocks the whole developmental chain that has seen good produce perish in the fields in Africa while the farmers' living standards continue to stagnate.
This simple act - unlocking access to the market - achieves so much. It improves the farmers' ability to plan, reduces produce loses and reduces vulnerability to middlemen. What all this means is that the farmers' livelihoods are greatly enhanced - we've seen farmers scale up production, creating on farm job opportunities for local youth. And of course the greatest beneficiaries are the families - this means school fees being paid, it means medical access is secured if needed, it's a win-win!