As product transformations and transactions take place along a chain of interrelated activities from farm to fork, value is added successively. The term "value chain" has thus been used to characterize this interconnected, coordinated set of links and linkages that take place as products move along a continuum between primary production and the consumer.
Agrifood production, processing and distribution worldwide are increasingly being organized into tightly aligned value chains, where the flows of inputs, products, information and financial resources are closely coordinated among farmers, processors, retailers and other economic actors. Supporting the creation and upgrading of agri-food value chains is an integral part of FAO's normative and field work.
Guidelines for rapid appraisals of agrifood chain performance in developing countries. International experiences have often demonstrated that chain analysis can be an important tool in enhancing the performance of agricultural, food and fibre systems. By revealing strengths and weaknesses, the analysis helps chain stakeholders and policy-makers to delineate corrective measures and to unleash the development of areas and activities where the potential for growth is identified. When properly conducted, it can also help create a shared vision among chain participants regarding challenges and opportunities, thus facilitating the development of collaborative relationships. Agrifood chain analysis is also used for other related purposes. These include the promotion of enterprise development, the enhancement of food quality and safety, the quantitative measurement of value addition, the promotion of coordinated linkages among producers, processors and retailers and the improvement of an individual firm’s competitive position in the market place, to name a few.