For "Grassroots Producers" -- productive poor persons working in the informal economy -- reliable access to regional and global markets is critical to long-term income growth. We believe that market opportunities for grassroots producers must be strengthened, supported, and expanded.
Grassroots Producer Organizations (GPOs) have developed to build the collective capacity of poor producers, leverage capital, and facilitate trade. These GPOs focus on bringing products to market.
Despite this important step, GPOs remain on the margins of commercial activities due to a number of factors, including:
In 2001, GFI facilitated efforts by the Self Employed Women’s Association to create the Grassroots Trading Network (GTN). The goal of the GTN is to strengthen, support, and expand market opportunities for grassroots producer organizations with a particular focus on women producers. Since its creation, the GTN has developed a long-term plan to grow grassroots producers into effective participants in the global economy. In 2004-05, A pilot project was launched in India leading to the preparation of a business plan projecting self-sufficiency by the year 2012. Such an ambitious plan is possible because GTN is acting like a hybrid Chamber of Commerce and Trade Association for poor producers, providing them with trade facilitation, capacity building, and policy advocacy. GTN also uses its growing network of partners to build public/private partnerships with government and businesses throughout the world.