Good Practice Guides Series for sustainable, participatory, and area-based research and development processes

Although the lines between rural and urban have blurred in many parts of the world today, millions of people still make their living in the countryside and depend on businesses around agriculture, livestock, fisheries, and ecosystem services. Not to mention the fact that we all depend on these businesses for food.

The participatory and area-based or “territorial” approach (known widely in LAC, in Spanish, as the OT-DER) is made up from a number of methods and tools that was developed by an formerly area of the Alliance called Rural Agroenterprise Development Project, and its partners, through work in Latin America, Africa and Asia over more than 10 years. The key elements of this approach include:

  • The development of partnerships, the assessment of existing resources and joint planning
  • The assessment of market and demand trends, and the identification of market opportunities
  • The development of business plans for rural agribusinesses and business support services
  • Project evaluation and mechanisms for gradual up-scaling
  • Knowledge sharing mechanisms and change management towards market-oriented innovation systems
  • Recommendations for better marketing and trading polices.
Figure 1 shows the work scheme proposed by the OT-DER:
Figure 1 shows the work scheme proposed by the OT-DER

In what context is this tool useful?

Where thousands are still struggling with gaps in knowledge about how to do business better, connect with markets and take advantage of the resources available in their territory to improve their livelihoods, this series of guides has much to contribute, especially as they are based on principles that are still relevant today.

Good Practice Guides

This approach is addressed by 4 main good practice guides:

guide 1





Note to users:

Service providers should read the guides in their entirety, to absorb the ideas and concepts prior to going to the field. Our experience has shown that best results are attained when these processes are not implemented in a mechanical manner; rather that the principles are interpreted and adapted to local conditions based on the marketing environment, available resources, social dynamics and anticipated scale of implementation.

Results achieved

Within the Good Practice Guide 1, there are several cases that show the results of this approach: Cut flowers in Cauca, Colombia; Coffee in Yorito, Honduras; Potatoes in Uganda; Peanuts in Laos; Business improvement: Milk cooperative in Versalles, Southwestern Colombia; Institutional change; and Impact at the “Learning Alliance” level.