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Smallholder value chains as complex adaptive systems: a conceptual framework

Purpose

Smallholder value chains are dynamic, changing over time in sudden, unpredictable ways as they adapt to shocks. Understanding these dynamics and adaptation is essential for these chains to remain competitive in turbulent markets. Many guides to value chain development, though they focus welcome attention on snapshots of current structure and performance, pay limited attention to the dynamic forces affecting these chains or to adaptation. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Fit for purpose? A review of guides for gender-equitable value chain development

This article presents a review of seven guides for gender-equitable value chain development (VCD). The guides advocate persuasively the integration of gender into VCD programming and raise important issues for designing more inclusive interventions. However, gaps persist in their coverage of gender-based constraints in collective enterprises, the influence of norms on gender relations, and processes to transform inequitable relations through VCD. Guidance for field implementation and links to complementary value chain tools are also limited.

Value Chain Development in Nicaragua: Prevailing Approaches and Tools used for Design and Implementation

This article draws on four contrasting cases of value chain development (VCD) in Nicaragua to assess approaches and tools used in design and implementation. We interviewed 28 representatives from the international NGOs leading the interventions, the local NGOs that participated in implementation, principal buyers, and cooperatives.

5Capitals: A Tool for Assessing the Poverty Impact of Value Chain Development

Facilitate the design and/or assessment of interventions for value chain development, taking into account the circumstances and needs of upstream-chain actors (namely, stallholder producing households and small and medium enterprises that have direct relations with smallholders). The tool has been tested in 20+ countries in S Asia, Africa, and LAC.

Value-chain development for rural poverty reduction: A reality check and a warning

This article draws attention to the link between Value Chain Development and smallholder livelihood strategies that comprise a complex mix of subsistence and market-oriented activities and that are diversified to meet multiple livelihood goals and mitigate risks; and the authors address the related implications for the design and assessment of value-chain interventions. They question some of the underlying assumptions of NGOs, government agencies, and private-sector agents seeking to link smallholders to higher-value markets.

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