Book review by Shaun Ferris, Technical Director Agriculture and Livelihoods, Catholic Relief Services
Value Chain Development and the Poor: Promise, delivery and opportunities for impact at scale, edited by Jason Donovan, Dietmar Stoian, and Jon Hellin.
The world of Value Chains Analysis and Development has been developing continuously over the past 25-30 years and as has undergone many transitions from sub-sector analysis, supply chain analysis, market chain analysis, value chain analysis, business services development and most recently placing more emphasis on the market systems approach.
As cleverly highlighted by Jason, Dietmar and John, in this new book, at its core, all of these methods and tools, aim to provide structure around the various business partners and their roles and then gather information within a live business model to assess key bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and new ways of doing business. All the time, analysts are using this data to seek out new opportunities to expand and upgrade market options and to raise incomes and prospects for the linked business partners.
In the private sector, this type of analysis and information is closely guarded, as it provides companies with the insights and elements, they need to maintain their competitiveness and to grow. In the development world, these same set of analytical tools has been repurposed to generate information that supports business upgrading pathways that support small holder farmers, farmer organizations and SME’s to engage in markets more effectively.
As shown in the parts of this book, dynamic market analysis and follow on investments and business upgrading strategies, can become complicated fairly quickly. Finding studies that analyse the effectiveness and impact of value chain interventions, within dynamic market situations requires both intricate and practical thinking to make sense of the situation, why certain decisions were made and whether they had the desired effect.
Order your copy from the Practical Action Publishing website.