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Sustainable Food Value Chains Knowledge Platform

Structured Search of the Library

This search module presents the big picture as the starting point from which users can zoom in on a particular element for more detailed material. The Sustainable Food Value Chain (SFVC) development approach is characterized by a continuous cycle of three successive phases: measuring performance, analysing performance, and improving performance. The hierarchical structure described in the following sections provides an exhaustive list of all the topics under each of these three phases, reflecting the holistic nature of the approach. Each link provides a brief description and a list of key resources for the topic.

General References

While the following three sections provide links to resources on particular elements of the approach, other resources are more holistic in nature, covering the approach as a whole. These include classic resources on value chain development in general and resources that are more specific to the SFVC approach. They are essential reading for anybody who is new to the approach and they provide the guiding framework for practitioners. These references can be found here.

Phase 1: Measuring Performance

This phase involves measuring the performance of an FVC towards its ultimate aim of generating economic, social and environmental sustainability outcomes. Performance measurement compares the outcomes that the FVC delivers today with a vision of what it could deliver in the future. Using this information, SFVC development efforts should target the FVCs with the greatest gaps between actual and potential performance. The holistic perspective of simultaneously assessing impact on all dimensions of sustainability is an essential characteristic of the approach. It forces the practitioner to take a multidisciplinary perspective and to consider the various sustainability trade-offs that are nearly always associated with implementing particular value chain upgrading activities.

Phase 2: Understanding Performance

This phase involves analysing the performance of the value chain. SFVC development takes an holistic approach: it identifies the interlinked root causes that explain why value chain actors do not take advantage of opportunities to improve efficiency or obtain access to markets. While doing this it considers three key aspects: i) how value chain stakeholders and their activities are linked to each other and to the economic, social and natural environment; ii) what drives the behaviour of individual stakeholders in their business interactions; and iii) how value is determined in end markets. This phase also includes identifying leverage points (where maximum impact can be achieved), the various options for addressing the root causes of underperformance (upgrading costs, benefits, trade-offs), and the anticipated impacts of these options.

Phase 3: Improving Performance

Based on the analysis conducted in phase 2, performance improvement phase follows a logical sequence of actions: i) developing a specific and realistic vision and an associated upgrading strategy that stakeholders agree on; and ii) developing and implementing a practical development plan by selecting the (integrated set of) upgrading activities and multilateral partnerships that support this strategy and that can realistically achieve the scale of impact envisioned. The cycle of three phases is then repeated, starting with an assessment of the impacts of efforts to improve performance.

Cross-sectional themes

To facilitate searches related to selected topics, an additional section on cross-sectional themes has been created. Each of the items listed here covers a topic in one or more of the three phases (measuring, analysing and improving performance). The section provides quick access to all the library items associated with the topic, independent of the phase(s) it relates to.