Agricultural innovation and inclusive value-chain development: A review
This paper (PDF) in the Journal of Agribusiness in Developing and Emerging Economies aims to review the knowledge about inclusive value-chain development (VCD) in the context of international agricultural research, and draw out implications for future research and action. Current knowledge is grouped under three headings: the challenges and approaches for inclusive VCD; linking agricultural innovation and VCD; evaluation intervention for innovation and VCD. Results emphasize the importance of combining value-chain approaches with other approaches, including those merging from innovation systems and rural livelihoods frameworks. Policy implications are given for a number of different themes. For example on smallholders who often find it difficult to exploit opportunities presented by expanding markets, due to limited access to land, credit, technical advice and basic knowledge of the market system. Therefore, it is of importance that policies and programs strengthen farmer associations and collective marketing. Furthermore, there are numerous challenges for achieving inclusive VCD, like the limited availability of work vehicles and fuel in public sector, the involvement of large private firms, the lack of facilitators or innovation brokers and the donor demand for quick results. The policy implication is that donors that wish to generate significant returns on investment in inclusive VCD, should plant to provide external support for at least a decade. Moreover, since innovation and VCD are complex processes, multistakeholder platforms need to be flexibly manged, learn from experience and adapt to unfolding events.The policy implication is that while general principles of agricultural innovation and VCD are broadly applicable, rigid models for innovation platform cannot simply be scaled up or transferred from one place to another. Priorities for future research include; 1) Methods for implementing asset-based approaches to VCD; 2) Membership, management and facilitation of multistakeholder platforms; 3) Evaluation approaches; 4) Scaling up the impact of value chain interventions and; 5) Application of a gender lens.