This manual is the reference book for the ValueLinks methodology. ValueLinks is the name given to a systematic compilation of action-oriented methods for promoting economic development with a value chain perspective. It provides essential know-how on ways to enhance employment and the business income of micro and small-sized enterprises and farmers by promoting the value chains they are operating in. The ValueLinks manual is intended for use by development projects or by public agencies promoting specific agribusiness, handicraft or manufacturing sub-sectors of the economy. It has no specific sectoral focus. However, the emphasis is on those product markets that offer opportunities for the poor. The ValueLinks manual is one of several knowledge products that use the ValueLinks methodology.
ValueLinks is entirely action-oriented. The know-how has been compiled by reviewing reallife experience. It builds on lessons learned with rural development programmes and private sector promotion supported by GTZ. The ValueLinks manual structures the know-how of value chain promotion into 12 modules organised according to the project cycle. It starts with the decision whether to engage in value chain promotion at all, and how to combine VC promotion with other development approaches (module 0). The first step in value chain promotion is the identification of a value chain to promote (module 1), followed by value chain analysis (module 2) and the formulation of a chain upgrading strategy (module 3). Module 4 presents know-how for facilitators of value chain promotion projects. The following modules (5-10) are all devoted to the implementation of projects. Three major fields of action are distinguished – business linkages (modules 5-6), services (modules 7-8) 1 and the business environment including standards (modules 9-10). Finally, module 11 closes the cycle with know-how on monitoring impacts and managing for development results. The core of the ValueLinks methodology is contained in modules 1-4 and 11, which consist of know-how that is specific to the value chain concept. Modules 5-10, on the other hand, utilise and adapt knowledge from other related fields of development work.
ValueLinks does not prescribe any particular sequence in which the modules should be used. In fact, the methodology is iterative. Practitioners usually have to move between implementation and analysis. Monitoring is placed at the end in the above graph, but should certainly be conducted throughout the process. Each module specifies recurring tasks that business organisations and facilitators of value chain promotion have to perform. Users can choose among a total of 37 tasks, e.g. “value chain mapping”, “agreeing on a vision” or “engaging private partners in development work”. Text boxes present tools and templates as well as concrete examples of value chain projects supported by GTZ around the world. This therefore provides users of the methodology with the building blocks with which they can construct their own VC promotion projects, selecting elements of ValueLinks according to their specific needs.