Agribusiness for Trade Competitiveness (ATC-P) Katalyst Phase 3

Bangladesh is among the most densely pop­u­lated coun­tries in the world. While the country has main­tained an im­pres­sive track record on growth and de­vel­op­ment in the last few years, there are still sub­stan­tial deficits in the ac­cess and usage of busi­ness-spe­cific knowl­edge, skills and in­for­ma­tion. Such deficits are the core rea­sons for the un­der­-per­for­mance and low com­pet­i­tive­ness of small en­ter­prises and rural en­tre­pre­neurs. Kat­a­lyst, one of the largest mar­ket de­vel­op­ment pro­jects in the world, aims to in­crease the in­come for men and women in rural areas of Bangladesh. By fa­cil­i­tat­ing changes in ser­vices, in­puts and prod­uct mar­kets, it fos­ters the com­pet­i­tive­ness of poor farm­ers and small busi­nesses in key rural sec­tors. Kat­alyst fol­lows a pro-poor mar­ket de­vel­op­ment ap­proach known as 'Mak­ing Mar­kets Work for the Poor' (M4P).

The Project

Kat­a­lyst's ap­proach is based on the premise that en­hanced pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tor busi­ness ser­vices and an im­proved en­abling en­vi­ron­ment lead to more com­pet­i­tive en­ter­prises, sustainable eco­nomic growth and poverty re­duc­tion.

Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the pro­ject was im­ple­mented from October 2002-March 2013. By end of Phase 2, Katalyst reached out and contributed to the increased/improved competitiveness of around 2.36 million farmers and small businesses, and increased their income by around USD 295 million.

The port­fo­lio for Phase 3 (2014-2017) con­sists of three core sec­tors (veg­etable, farmed fish and maize) and three cross sec­tors (women's eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment, local agri-busi­ness net­works and in­for­ma­tion chan­nels).

Fol­lowing the M4P-ap­proach, which works in­di­rectly, Katalyst fo­cus­es on achiev­ing sys­temic change in order to pro­vide new op­por­tu­ni­ties for poor peo­ple. It facilitates changes in the be­hav­iour of mar­ket play­ers (such as pri­vate com­pa­nies and pub­lic and pri­vate as­so­ci­a­tions) to en­gage poor peo­ple into their busi­nesses as sup­pli­ers, dis­trib­u­tors, re­tail­ers and/or em­ploy­ees, and cre­ate more in­come gen­er­at­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for the poor. Kat­a­lyst iden­ti­fies and pri­ori­tises the con­straints and op­por­tu­ni­ties within the sec­tors in its port­fo­lio which ben­e­fits both com­pa­nies and the poor with higher profits and increased income respectively thereby, con­tribut­ing to poverty reduction.



  • Benefit Outreach: 1,593,482 farmers and small enterprises
  • Income increased: USD 254,298,923

Project partner

Katalyst is implemented by Swisscontact under the umbrella of the Ministry of Commerce, Bangladesh.

Project countries

  • Bangladesh

Project links

Project duration

2002 - 2017 (Phase 3: 2014 - 2017)


  • SDC
  • GIZ
  • DFID
  • CIDA
  • SIDA
  • EKN

Working area


Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation
Hardturmstrasse 123
CH-8005 Zurich

Tel. +41 44 454 17 17
Fax +41 44 454 17 97