Nutrition-sensitive value chains: A guide for project design - Volume 1

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This publication has been produced to fill a key knowledge gap in the emerging field of value chains for nutrition by providing guidance on how to design nutrition-sensitive value chain (NSVC) projects, with a particular focus on smallholder producers.

This guide provides validated step-by-step guidance for NSVC project design, relevant not only for IFAD but for development actors in general, and for organizations working in agriculture and rural development in particular.


Origins and purpose of the guide

With principal financing from the Government of Germany, IFAD carried out a three-phase project – Support of Development of Nutrition-Sensitive Value Chains (NSVC) in MiddleIncome Countries – with the goal of providing evidence-based guidance to develop NSVCs from a smallholder perspective.

• Phase 1 developed an analytical framework for NSVCs (De la Peña, Garrett and Gelli, 2018). The innovative nature and knowledge gaps related to NSVCs called for starting the project with a thorough literature review that underpinned the development of an analytical framework for design of NSVCs from a smallholder perspective.

• Phase 2 field-tested the NSVC framework and reflected on the process, specifically testing different tools and methods in order to refine and adjust each of the steps that are part of this guide. Phase 2 also had a strong component of consultation and ownership at the country level, with several workshops being held in each country to discuss, sharpen and validate the overall NSVC approach and the detailed guidance steps. The fieldwork was undertaken through two ongoing IFAD-funded value chain (VC) projects: the Smallholder Livelihood Development Project (SOLID) in Indonesia and the Climate Change Adaptation and Agribusiness Support Programme in the Savannah Belt (CASP) in Nigeria. Fieldwork was carried out in collaboration with SNV and CIAT in Indonesia, and FBFI and KIT in Nigeria.

• Phase 3 synthesized the experiences and lessons learned from the country activities into this guide for project design. A global workshop with international experts and the organizations participating in Phase 2 was held to further triangulate and validate the approach.

This publication – Nutrition-sensitive value chains: A guide for project design – builds on the results of the project’s three phases and thus provides a field-tested and validated approach to designing NSVC projects. It also explains the changes and modifications that standard VC projects need at each step of project design to make them more nutrition sensitive.

Of note, this guide focuses only on food value chains. While other projects that promote non-food value chains could potentially improve nutrition through, for instance, income or women’s empowerment, the framework underlying this guide focuses on those value chains that are for production, marketing and consumption of food commodities.