Nutrition-sensitive value chains: A guide for project design
This publication (PDF) by IFAD aims to fill a key knowledge gap in the merging field of value chains (VC) for nutrition by providing guidance on how to design nutrition-sensitive value chain (NSVC) projects, with a particular focus on smallholder producers. The VC approach uses an analytical framework that considers the chain as a whole and pays attention to the links among VC actors and how their interactions affect the poor. A nutrition-sensitive approach considers how VCs could contribute to improving nutrition. The NSVC framework focuses on the link between nutrition problems in target populations and the constraints in supply and demand of specific foods. Applying a nutrition lens to considering how to develop the VC allows for identification of specific investments and interventions at each stage that can contribute to improving nutrition by enhancing the availability, affordability, diversity, nutritional quality, safety and acceptability of nutritious foods. The NSVC project aims to alleviate the constraints identified in the supply and demand of specific foods in order to address the nutrition problem of the target beneficiaries. Based on the constraints to be alleviated, there are three strategies that a project can adopt: strategies to increase the supply of food, strategies to add nutrition value along the chain, and strategies to increase the demand for food. A NSVC primarily contributes to nutrition through improving diet quality. Three possible impact pathways can lead to changes in consumption of nutritious foods: the income pathway, the own-production pathway and the market pathway. In addition, there are two cross-cutting mediators of these impacts: nutrition awareness and women’s empowerment. The publication describes four diagnostic studies associated with each step of the process in designing NSVC and discusses how they fit into the overall design for an NSVC project.