Using Value Chain Approaches in Agribusiness and Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa

This Guide to value chain approaches provides the user with actionable methods and tools to increase the productivity and performance of sub-Saharan African (SSA) agriculture.

The Guide is intended for use by a number of audiences. Most directly, it provides planners, decision makers, and implementers with practical tools for creating effective value and supply chain development programs. It also provides public and private stakeholders with a common framework for prioritizing decisions on sector and sub-sector competitiveness. Policy makers, business leaders, members of the development community, researchers, and practitioners can use these methods and approaches to promote the development of traditional and non-traditional value chains in sub-Saharan Africa. Using concrete examples, mostly from African countries, this Guide presents, reviews, and systematically illustrates a range of concepts, analytical tools, and methodologies which, in turn, can be used to design, prepare, implement, assess, and evaluate agribusiness development initiatives. It presents and comments on various conceptual, methodological, and practical approaches to improving the competitiveness of agricultural supply and value chains. The Guide stresses the importance of value chain-based approaches and analysis for agro-enterprise and agro-food chain development in SSA.

The Guide first examines core concepts and issues relating to value chains. A brief literature review then focuses on five themes, of particular relevance to African agricultural value chains, which can contribute to effective implementation tools and approaches:

  • Trust and cooperation
  • Governance
  • Market power
  • Innovation and knowledge
  • Focus/intervention points.

This Guide offers 13 value chain implementation tools, presented within the implementation cycle of a value chain program.

  • Designing strategies and business plans—Obtaining and using information
  • Developing robust new businesses
  • Supplying the market—Aligning supply to match market opportunity
  • Reaching the market—Market positioning and market opportunities
  • Improving the business and policy environment
  • Monitoring results in value-chain development

Each tool is followed by descriptions of one or more actual cases. These cases illustrate the tool’s application, and are coupled with embedded mini-cases for additional illumination. Roughly 60 percent of the examples are from Africa; others come from Europe, Latin America, and Asia. 

Related Resources