Chapter I - Introduction

1.1  Introduction
            TechnoServe India ( TNS) has been contracted by Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board ( MSAMB) to undertake the Integrated Environmental and Social Assessment ( IESA) study for the Maharashtra Agricultural Competitiveness Project ( MACP) in the state. MSAMB is implementing the MACP in Maharashtra with the support of the Government of Maharashtra ( GoM) and the World Bank.  Prior to MACP implementation, MSAMB has proposed to carry out an Integrated Environmental and Social Assessment ( IESA) study to assess the environmental and social concerns associated with the proposed project interventions and factor in the key learnings in the project planning and implementation. 

            The development objective of the proposed MACP is to foster the development of more competitive marketing systems; and improve market access for farmers and livestock producers through enhanced knowledge and more effective producer organization. Opportunities lie within domestic as well as export markets. The state’s nodal agency for agriculture marketing MSAMB is currently in the process of preparing the project implementation plan for the MACP with proposed financing from the World Bank under the MACP.

1.2       About the project

The two major components of MACP are described in the diagram below:

The proposed project is consistent with the World Bank country assistance strategy that has a focus on accelerating rural growth through scaling of its support for improved rural livelihoods at state level, especially by strengthening community owned initiatives that translate into social mobilization and community empowerment activities targeted at the poorest and most vulnerable section of the community.
1.3  Project components
         The project has two main components:

Component 1: Expanding Market Infrastructure and Increasing Farmer Access to Market Opportunities 
-by increasing and upgrading market infrastructure and making market management more efficient and