CGIAR / Fish / Livestock

Week 1-Question 1: Impact through focus value chains?

Question 1: The proposed approach commits the CG Centers to achieve impact by catalyzing development and research interventions in a few carefully selected value chains in a few countries. Is it an effective approach for the CGIAR to take? Please comment: What are the risks of such an approach, and how could we manage those risks?

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26 thoughts on “Week 1-Question 1: Impact through focus value chains?

  1. Yes, the approach might be very effective in making impacts. Countries might have peculiar characteristics that have to be managed as challenges or lessons learned.

  2. It is important to focus on value chains because this is likely to cause impact. Also it is very important to focus on few countries which are likely to generate results which can act as cases for other countries. This is especially so where there may be no sufficient resources to cover all the countries. The risk is failing to capture sufficient case studies for other countries. To solve this problem, could adopt an Open Eduction Resources (OER) approach, where the whole process of research would be properly documented in all forms.

  3. I think the proposed approach will contribute to the improvement of the livestock/farmers’ livelihood. However there are some risks associated with it.

    foremost, in many African countries, there are weak institutional and policy framework governing agricultural development. One has to find entry point. As you have mentioned earlier you will work hand in hand with private sector, I think working with private sector might help.

    secondly, fragmented market. This goes with poor infrastructures. There is a need to improve marketing of livestock products by creating an integration between producers (farmers)and processors/ distributors coordinate to manage the commodity delivery system and pricing. Advice the government to invest in infrastructure to support meat industry from production to processing and marketing (especially for east African countries).

    Third, technology dissemination. In many African countries, there are many research works on livestock related matters. These findings rarely reach poor farmers. (How are you going to ensure that all findings will be presented in a layman language to the farmers?)

    Record keeping. (I don’t know if it is risk, but it just occur in my mind). There is a need to have a center for all findings/records either in your head quarters or related government institutions.

  4. Yes indeed, it is an effective approach.
    Risks:a)selection of value chains for study decided by researchers basing on the researchers interests for easy of implementation
    b)value chains opted for not relevant to the targeted beneficiaries.
    c)expected benefits not explained well at the start of the program implementations d) shortfalls during execution not communicated earlier.

    The only sustainable manner of managing such risks is to make sure that; a)the value chains are decided on by the actual beneficiairies,b)the benefits so expected from the research are well expressed right from the start of the program and c) all the expected shortfalls that may arise during the implementation to be communicated earlier or as soon as they hapen.

  5. It is better to have few carefully selected value chains for implementation in fairly less number of countries. This will allow a more focused approach which could later be scaled up and transformed to other countries.

    It is important to realize that the results obtained are specific to the value chain selected and will not be relevant to other value chains. This shall require working on different value chains in a phase-wise manner, selecting first those having wide socio-economic scope.

  6. Value chain approach on a focused comodity is an effective approach, I agree, provided all actors in a given comodity value chain are considered in a wholistic manner in each R&D activity. Effective communication of past achievements of similar programs/projects and current progress would urge ILRI to forcast any risk and act accordingly.

  7. Ofcourse it is an effective approach. The risk entail how research could be effectively managed and simplified to the understanding of farmers and he ordinary people. Research will not achieve results if it is a complex language. The concept of development must be human focused and centered to enable the ordinary people derive maximum benefits. The people must be made to understand what the development paradigm is all about.



  9. Any intervention has to set a limit to its area and scope of operation; available budget is an important determinant. In case of value chain research, provision has to be made to expand, if necessary, the area of study to capture the influence from neighboring countries or regional trends on the value chain in the country of study.

  10. RISK I: few value chains, few countries. Chance of “few”: High efficiency through concentration, risk of “few” lack of potential to scale out and achieve wider impact. Potential strategy: Select bottlenecks to value chains that hold for a broad range of value chains and apply on selected “few” first, then scale out. Define variables and estimate bottlenecks on a broad cross-section (quantitative regression analysis instead of qualitative case studies).
    Effectiveness depends on the priority setting (high return on investment first) and the effectiveness of partnerships depends on synergies and the minimization of transaction costs. However, the proposed approach intergates these points and it is thus expected that the propsal will be workable

  11. Big risk is you never make a difference outside the few “pilot” countries. I think if truth were told, that happens a lot.

  12. The proposition ‘malnutrition is the most serious consequence of food insecurity’ appears to be the main foundation of the proposed mega programme. Value of ASFs has been highlighted in the beginning and growing market demand has been highlighted while discussing the opportunity frontier half way through the CN. First, even though it is a quote, there is some flaw in the statement. ” Malnutrition is the most serious manifestation of food insecurity” is perhaps a more logical statement.
    Second, either way, although malnutrition is a serious problem, market demand is a stonger basis than manutrition for designing the mega prog because of a paradox.

    Malnourished people are principally poor people who need ASFs but that need is not manifested in the market. The argument that with income demand for ASFs increase assumes a smooth demand curve but in reality it is not the case. Until calorie sufficiency level is reachced (for simplicity let us assume that this threshhold level coincides with the poverty line of $1 a day income or 1.25 dollar based on the new definition), very little is spent on ASFs in spite of its nutrive value. The logic is simple – cereals are cheaper sources of energy. Even safety net programmaes targeted to poor people are designed around cereals and staples, not ASFs. Once this threhhold is reached, income has a stronger impact on demand for ASFs. Given the number and proportion of poor people in the developing world,the intercept and the slope of ASF demand curves may be significantly differenrt for poor vs non-poor, so assumption of a smotth demand curve (i.e, market potential) for ASFs is unrealtic for planning purposes, especially for the proposd research on development and facilitation of selected value chains. To illustrate the case, let us consider the hypothetical production and consumption matrix for commodity x in country y as follows:

    Production Concumption
    Rural Urban Total
    Poor Nonpoor Poor Nonpoor
    Small scale 5 30 10 35 80
    Industrial 0 1 3 16 20
    Total 5 31 13 51 100

    The population in each cell of the matrix can be added to complete the size of the market. This matrix will differ between commodities and countries. But the key points are these :(a) most rural poor and all urban poor consumers are non-producers of ASFs, most nonpoor rural consumers consume selfproduced ASFs, though some may be nonproducers of some commodities, (b)industrial system is small but is capturing the expanding market as smallscale can’t access inputs and technology to produce quality required by the expanding market. (c) poor malnurished consumers do not have a market demand but increased productivity and production leading to reduced real price may help them increase consumption a bit but that is a longer term goal. (In case of cerals, poor do not have a demand but safety net programmes indirectly create that demand partially). The matrix has much more complex flows that need to be understood and quantified to design strategy to help the smallscale producers- the main target of the programme.

    So the question is which of the cells in the matrix are targets for promotion and facilitation of selected value chains for delivery of inputs and products? I do not think the CN makes this adequately clear beyond prophesing the value of ASFs, the rising demand and the disadvabntage of smallholders.

    Also the clear dichotomy between indusrial vs smallscale may not be a realistic typology of the production structure. If it is recognized that smallscale may not be synonymous with traditional technology, then issues such as inputs, health, food quality and safety standards, processing and marketing infrastructure that cut across scale need to be addressed by the programme. I do not think it comes out clearly in the CN as the emphasis is on small scale.

  13. This approach requires first the measurement of the importance of the few chains selected. This depends upon countries or the culture of the people.
    It is also impossible to conduct the research in all the countries as this requires much funds but the question is how the countries are identified so that they can be significantly representative and if they can indeed be the vector of the development

  14. It is an effective approach to take. The main challenge will be disseminating the findings to other countries and regions. The approach may have limited applicability. I will also requre a lot of deliberate efforts to find willing and able partners in other countries in order to enhance the adoption of the developed technogies and to translate them to their communities

  15. Yes it an effective approach howevr it has the following snags
    1 Upscalling the technologies may affected by political interferences of the country where technologies were develop
    2. Capacity building is always lacking to those countries not directly involved in the programme

  16. The main impact through focus value chain is that you tend to more critic in solving problems related to the particular production system

  17. The risk is too much focus on livestock and livestock products and not enough attention to the institutions (particularly access to resources) that frame the situation of poor people, above all, poor women. ILRI and its partners should be giving much more explicit attention to these institutional issues.

  18. There is also a danger that the focus is on only one of the purposes of keeping livestock, to the detriment of others that might be more important under conditions of high risk and uncertainty experienced by poor people.

  19. Resource constraints and need for targeted work (Result approach) necessitate this. The approach will work provided we can ensure part investment to go in to the capacity building of local institutions and development of policy framework. Engagement with policy makers in each country is a must. The local institutions (across value chain – Government / private / farmers / traders organizations) must get incentive to collaborate and document learning. The important aspect is sustaining the benefit that will be generated during or as an outcome of the intervention.
    The risk here can be classified under Technical, Financial, Process, Political, Policy and project risk etc.
    Careful construction of result chain (Input-Activities-output-outcome -impact) and fixation of performance target for each component of the chain should take care of various risk mentioned above.
    In general many of the above risk can be minimized by ensuring efficiency, evidences and coordination etc. as performance target.

  20. There are still “large gaps” between commercial fish farming and substistence farming in African countries.The new approach has to look at various systems of production levels in each country and the by-laws controlling the use of water bodies( for livestockk watering and for domestic use)

  21. There is always a problem in selecting only a few (value chains/locations). The very first problem in determining who and how the value chains will be selected. Second, value chains, unlike individual farmers or farms/fisheries, cannot ‘speak’ or ‘participate’ in such a choice. Individual parts of the value chain might be brought together, but how will their views be weighted in the final determination of what is to be done, how and where across the value chain. Third knowledge spillovers are not likely across a value chain unless the whole experience is repeated from the start since as I mentioned above, if the point is to focus on the value chain as a whole as opposed to the research,farm, transport,marketing or other segment of it, there will be a need for someone, somewhere (either within the value chain or an outside agent) to bring the actors together. One could could one with the problems and spin out some solutions, but it is too early in the development of the project to do so. The point here is simply to make you aware that working with value chains is not like working with individual farmers, their associations, researchers & their organizations or companies at different points in the value chain.

  22. You have to start with a few selected value chains in a few selected countries, it just cannot be otherwise for this is R4D. I think it is an effective approach and should work. My prayer is that it should be “farmer first” and not the other way round like most R4D programmes – “Researcher/Centre first” approach.

  23. Good selection of the value chains will be very important for the effectivity of this approach. So far, I could not find the selection criteria applied. Lack of proper criteria may be a major risk of this Mega Program.

  24. I have gone through each one of the comments. All are valuable and need to be taken seriously- decision making processes & critaria, the pros & cons of focusing on selected value chains/countries, risks & risk management, etc. Yet, the concerns raised and gray areas highlighted by Mohammad Jabbar needs, in my view, further deliberations.

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