Katalyst collaborates with private sector partners to ensure that they have the right incentives and capacity to improve the market environment, in order to benefit the poor. Katalyst works with private companies and business associations with the incentives, commitment and mandate to work in a given sector.
Katalyst’s farmed fish programme partnered with SKF and Fishtech, two national-level private companies working in the fisheries sector. The purpose was to train SME fish farmers on better cultivation techniques of three fish species: tilapia, koi and pangus. The training also captured the needs of marginal farmers by promoting “green pond technology” for farming tilapia. This reduces dependency on commercial feed and substitutes that dependency with available natural feed in the pond. The training was conducted by private companies and 30 hatcheries. Participant farmers, nurseries and input dealers gave positive responses to the training. SKF in particular achieved a 90% increase in their aquachemical sales; this they attribute to their involvement in providing training to smallholder farmers and dealers. SKF has expressed strong interest to expand the training.
Farmers often experience a lack of information on disease prevention for their crops, poultry, and fisheries, and they need quick solutions. In 2009, Katalyst partnered with Banglalink to launch an agricultural helpline for farmers, called “Banglalink Jigyasha 7676”. The helpline has been widely accepted among mobile phone users working in agriculture, with more than 400,000 calls logged in call centres in two years, extending Bangladesh’s telecommunication services far beyond telephone and SMS use. Katalyst is also joining content providers of agriculture information with an independent panel of agricultural experts, to evaluate and improve the content used in agricultural helplines.