Value chains and nutrition: A framework to support the identification, design, and evaluation of interventions
This IFPRI discussion paper elaborates on how value chains can contribute to improved nutrition outcomes. Value chain approaches can provide useful frameworks to examine the food system and have the potential to achieve improved nutritional outcomes by leveraging market-based systems. However, understanding the links between value chains, the overall business environment in which they operate, and nutrition among targeted populations is complex, involving actors and activities working across agriculture, health and nutrition, and very little evidence exists on the potential or the trade-offs involved. In this paper the authors explore how a value chain framework can inform the design of interventions for achieving improved nutrition. Conceptually, there are three main channels for value chains to improve nutrition: (1) through increased consumption of nutritious foods (a demand side pathway); or (2) through increased incomes from value chain transactions (a supply side pathway) or (3) through increased nutrition value-addition in the chain transactions. These three pathways are interlinked and involve complex dynamics that are not straightforward to understand and are context specific. Where adequate supply and demand for a specific food exists, interventions would focus on optimizing the efficiency and flow of nutrition added-value along the chain. Where demand is constrained or overconsumption is a problem, interventions would work primarily to change consumption patterns, either directly (for example, food transfers) or indirectly (such as, social marketing) shaping market demand. Where supply is constrained, interventions would focus on enhancing supply-side capacity by improving production practices, organizing production and post-harvest activities to increase efficiency, and facilitating the expansion of market opportunities.