– This article is a research highlight from the Bioversity International Annual Report 2018 –
What are value chains and how can they improve nutrition?
A value chain is the entire network of stakeholders and activities that provide our food, from farm to fork, adding value along the way – for example, through trading or processing. It includes producers, processors, traders and consumers. In recent years governments and development partners have invested in value chain development as part of more comprehensive development strategies. A traditional value chain project for smallholder producers links smallholders to markets to increase production and incomes. Nutrition-sensitive value chains have an extra function – to improve nutrition in a given population by shaping the value chain to address constraints and opportunities around supply, demand and nutrition value.
A new guide and a five-step approach
Drawing on experience from the field, staff from Bioversity International and IFAD worked together to develop a guide on how to design value chains that seek to improve nutrition and increase incomes of producers and other value chain actors, as well as paying attention to environmental sustainability, climate change and women’s empowerment. The results are found in a new two-volume publication – Nutrition-Sensitive Value Chains: A Guide for Project Design which sets out this five-step approach.