Value chain development

The concept of value chain is explained in a working paper on Donor Interventions in Value Chain Development by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation that highlights the most important issues that development agencies need to consider when they engage in value chain development in rural areas. The paper offers guiding principles for development practitioners and policy makers, and points to further useful material.

Value chain is described as a model. The model takes up the fact that a product is rarely directly consumed at the place of its production. It is transformed, combined with other products, transported, packaged, displayed etc. until it reaches the final consumer. In this process the raw materials, intermediate products and final products are owned by various actors who are linked by trade and services, and each add value to the product. Various types of public and private services, like business development services, electricity, transport, financial services, etc., are as important as favourable framework conditions, i.e. laws, regulations and their enforcement.

A Handbook for Value Chain Research, prepared for the IDRC, provides a broad overview, defining value chains, introducing key concepts and discussing the contribution of value chain analysis as an analytical and policy tool in part 1 of the book. Part 2 is concerned with underlying theoretical constructs in value chain analysis. In Part 3 a lay out of a methodology for undertaking value chain research is given.

The Value Chain Analysis for Policy-Makers and Practitioners, developed in partnership by the ILO and Rockefeller Foundation, is a guide that is targeted specifically toward policy-makers and planners at different levels of government, business associations and trade unions and others responsible for developing strategies for enterprise development and local economic development. Section 1 presents the key insights of the value chain approach and the questions it raises about how the global economy is organized and how local enterprises can participate more effectively in it. Section 2 sets out why this new analytical approach is important for policy-makers and practitioners. Sections 3 to 8 tackle specific policy problems and provide practical ideas about how to address these challenges. The section headings should help you to find quickly what is most relevant for your situation. To some extent the sections build on each other, but the guide can be read selectively.

Developing value chains that are within competitive industries has specific challenges when the majority of micro- and small enterprises are extremely poor. The paper Value Chain Development and the Poor, draws from the experiences of SEEP members working on value chain development with the poor and presents lessons gleaned from the Value Chain Working. Markets hold significant power to create or combat poverty. Increasingly, international development initiatives focused on economic growth and/or poverty alleviation are working to open existing markets to poor producers and consumers and make the benefits of well-functioning markets more widely accessible to the poor. The challenge for development practitioners is to promote economic growth strategies that improve the competitiveness of industries.


Help us to develop this field!

—Do you have a good link or resource you can recommend?

—Are you making a difference locally that could inspire others elsewhere?

All feedback is welcome!
» This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

nicolien 2015
Nicolien Wassenaar
Poverty & Income Generation Editor

Can't find what you want? Enter a keyword for your topic and click 'FIND'