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Agriculture and Food Security

Enhancing the Potential of Wholesale Markets through Training on Market Infrastructure and Agriculture Value Chains in Spain

  • Project Name: Training on Market Infrastructure and Agriculture Value Chains: The Potential of Wholesale Markets, 24–28 July 2017 and 24–28 June 2019, Spain
  • Region/Country: Regional/Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam
  • Sector and Themes: Agriculture and Food Security
  • Year: 2016–Present
  • Project Leaders: Md. Abul Basher
Through training, the project helped disseminate best practices in agricultural market infrastructure and value chains.

Having watched during these days how Mercasa has been solving issues and challenges throughout its history, it’s a very good example for us of what needs to be done in our country to make an efficient system of food distribution.

—Kazakhstan Study Tour Participant

Development challenge

Over a billion people in Asia still suffer from food insecurity, threatening to reverse progress to date in ending hunger and malnutrition. This progress has been slow due to the complex nature of food security, which is affected by multiple factors, including climate change, natural resource depletion, rapid urbanization, competing use of agricultural resources by other sectors, and aging populations. The problem is aggravated by post-harvest losses—a failure to bring the food from field to market.

In ADB’s DMCs, poorly planned and dispersed nature of agri-supply chains are easily disrupted by crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, further threatening food security. Weak agriculture value chains also make it difficult for authorities to ensure the safety of agricultural produce. Strengthening agricultural market infrastructure and value chains can play a huge role in supplying reliable, fresh, and safe food to growing urban populations, and to tackling hunger and nutrition insecurities.


The project disseminated best practices in operation of these markets that could then be implemented in DMCs. For selected DMCs, the project assessed the legal and institutional environment for supporting wholesale markets and developed effective custom-tailored models. ADB developed the capacity of DMC government officials through training programs and study tours in managing wholesale markets.

Knowledge products and services delivered

In 2017, ADB organized a training program and study tour in Spain for 12 government officials from Kazakhstan, Nepal, Uzbekistan, and Viet Nam and relevant ADB staff. In 2019, two similar programs were organized for officials from Indonesia, Pakistan, and the Philippines to visit Spain and France.

Impact and results

The project imparted knowledge and skills on design, setup, and operations of wholesale markets to both ADB staff and government officials from seven DMCs. Best practices learned through physical visits to European wholesale markets were shared, leading to several DMCs expressing interest for setting up wholesale markets. In Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Viet Nam, the project also assessed the potential for setting up and improving wholesale markets. Wholesale market projects were designed in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Currently, the Government of Pakistan is working to develop a wholesale market in Lahore with support from ADB. Knowledge gained in this project also spilled over within ADB, resulting in pipeline projects in India.

ADB staff and government officials from seven developing member countries learned about the design, setup, and operations of wholesale markets.

Lessons for Replication

The project highlights the importance of practical, context-oriented programmatic knowledge-sharing as a solution to disseminate best practices in managing wholesale markets. The opportunity for peer knowledge exchanges, and connecting government officials, farmers, producers’ cooperatives, and management in Spain increased interest among other DMCs wholesale markets to improve their agriculture value chains as a solution to hunger and malnutrition

Former ADB Vice-President Diwakar Gupta and former ADB Chief of Rural Development and Food Security (Agriculture) Thematic Group Akmal Siddiq.

With support from ADB, Uzbekistan will start working in the conceptualization of three wholesale markets. The support of ADB for the implementation market research in Tashkent, Samarkand, and Fergana Valley will surely be a very important milestone.

—Uzbekistan Study Tour Participant