Design of strategies to increase the competitiveness of smallholder chains

The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) through its Rural Agro-enterprise Development Project has been developing methodologies that aim to respond to the needs of development organizations in the field of Rural Agro-enterprise Development (RAeD). At present, the center has a territorial approach for RAeD composed of four interconnected methodological steps that seek to improve local capacities. The four elements are: (1) formation of local teams for rural agroenterprise development, (2) identification of market opportunities, (3) analysis of chains and the generation of strategies for their improvement, and (4) the design and provision of business development services.

This manual covers the third component of the territorial approach for RAeD: the design of strategies to increase competitiveness. These strategies seek to improve competitiveness of the chain by means of concrete research and development actions identified and implemented in collaboration with chain actors. Through this process, trust and collaborative problem solving is facilitated so that, at the end of the process, the groundwork has been laid to move from a production chain to a value chain.

The manual is divided into 10 modules or chapters with the aim of explaining not only the reasons behind the methodology, but also concrete steps that may prove useful in the field. The modules are:

  1. Territorial Approach for Rural Enterprise Development
  2. Chain Approach: Basic Concepts
  3. Basic Principles of a Strategy to Increase Competitiveness
  4. Selecting a Chain
  5. Market Information and Contacts
  6. Identification of Actors in the Chain
  7. Analysis of the Chain with the Actors
  8. Analysis of Critical Points
  9. Negotiation and Design of the Strategy to Increase Competitiveness
  10. Monitoring the Strategies to Increase Competitiveness: General Guidelines

Each module is further divided into the following sections: guiding questions, conceptual support, appropriate tools, practical examples and a review.

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