Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Monday, June 28, 2021

REPORT + WEBINAR: Value Chain Development and the Poor: Promise, Delivery, and Opportunities for Impact at Scale

Jason DonovanDietmar StoianJon Hellin (2020) Value Chain Development and the Poor. Promise, delivery, and opportunities for impact at scale. pp. 368

Since the early 2000s, value chain development (VCD) has figured prominently on the agendas of donors, governments, and NGOs in pursuit of market-based options to poverty reduction, food security, gender equity, and other goals.

Researchers have shown interest in value chains as a theoretical construct for studying interactions between farmers and markets, while practitioners have focused their attention on approaches and tools for applying VCD in the field.

Despite considerable investments in VCD, limited evidence exists on the extent to which different approaches to VCD have advanced diverse development goals. This knowledge gap sounds alarms, not least because of the complexities involved and the multitude of options for getting it right (or wrong).

This collection offers unique perspectives on VCD from both practitioners and researchers. It explores how VCD is implemented in the field, options for innovation in design, and the potential for VCD to achieve impact at scale. Altogether, the book provides a timely critique of current approaches, pointing at options for more reflexive learning, new collaborative frameworks, and faster innovation of VCD.

The book is an invaluable resource for those working with NGO programming, development think tanks, donor organizations or private foundations, or researchers with an interest in rural development.

Related: Launch of the report

17 June 2021Value Chain Development and the Poor: Promise, Delivery, and Opportunities for Impact at Scale

In recent years, value chain development (VCD) in the agrifood system has been hailed as a practical way to expand market access for smallholder producers, reduce poverty, enhance environmental sustainability, and improve food security and gender equity. Despite significant investments in VCD from governments, donors, and NGOs, however, evidence regarding the effectiveness of VCD interventions in addressing these important development goals remains lacking. Many existing studies have focused on the design and outputs of VCD interventions themselves rather than on their outcomes and impacts. As a result, the true reach of these programs remains unknown, particularly for poor populations.

A recent book, published by Practical Action Publishing and supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM) and the CGIAR Research Program on Maize Agrifood Systems (MAIZE), looks to fill this important knowledge gap. Value Chain Development and The Poor: Promise, delivery, and opportunities for impact at scale provides a collection of case studies and lessons learned from VCD interventions in Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. The book includes chapters written by researchers and development practitioners, providing an in-depth examination of VCD in both theory and in practice.

During this webinar, editors Jason Donovan, Dietmar Stoian, and Jon Hellin presented findings from the book and explored how VCD can be more effectively designed, implemented, and scaled up to include and benefit poor populations.
  • Moderator: Erwin Bulte, Professor of Development Economics, Wageningen University
  • Jason Donovan, Senior Economist, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)
  • Dietmar Stoian, Lead Scientist, World Agroforestry (ICRAF)
  • Jon Hellin, Head of the Sustainable Impact Platform, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)
  • Closing remarks: Frank Place, Director, PIM

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