Nutrition-sensitive value chains: A guide for project design
03 December 2018
09.00 to 10.30
The event will present the Nutrition-sensitive value chains: A guide for project design, a practical guide that describes a step-by-step approach for designing NSVC projects, drawing on the latest research and field-tested approaches in Indonesia and Nigeria.
How can value chain projects improve nutrition of smallholder producers?
In a world where smallholder producers rely more and more on markets to feed their families, there is a clear need to understand how the power of food value chains and markets can lead to be leveraged for better nutrition outcomes.
Oval room, IFAD HQ
Value chain projects have traditionally focused on increasing economic returns for the farmers, but they also offer opportunities to shape food systems to be more nutrition-sensitive, and ultimately ensure that nutritious, diverse and safe foods are accessible to consumers. Since food is not only produced, but also processed, distributed, marketed and consumed, looking at all stages of the value chain allows us to identify a range of entry points and investments to contribute to better nutrition.
Balancing the usual goal of maximising returns in value chain development with improving nutrition of smallholder producers can be challenging. There are trade-offs and tensions to be resolved.
What is new about the nutrition-sensitive value chain guide for project design?
The NSVC guide is the first of its kind, as it provides guidance for design of NSVC projects specifically for smallholder producers. It can be used by development agencies and governments wanting to promote nutrition-sensitive value chains. The two volumes present step-by-step guidance for designing NSVC projects and practical resources and templates that can be used in the field.
A thorough literature review provided the foundation for the NSVC framework. The approach was then tested with ongoing projects in Nigeria and Indonesia. The researchers experimented with and evaluated a range of possible tools and methods, assessing which ones provided reliable information in a time- and finance-constrained environment, typically faced by most projects. Experts and institutions at country and global level discussed and validated the recommended steps, methods and tools, to ensure that a range of voices, findings from global research, and practical experiences from the field were adequately reflected in the guide.
What are the key features of the nutrition-sensitive value chain framework?
The NSVC framework presents the ideas and concepts needed to identify commodities and investments that can improve dietary quality while remaining economically viable, address environmental sustainability and women’s empowerment. The approach starts with identifying the nutrition problem in the target population and its relation to excessive or insufficient consumption of key foods. Specific food commodities can then be identified that have potential to address the nutrition problem, in particular multiple commodities that can contribute to a healthier diet. Once they have been identified, their respective value chains can be analysed to identify constraints in the supply of or demand for these foods as they relate to the nutrition problem. An NSVC project would then aim to alleviate those constraints.
Applying a nutrition lens to value chains entails some fundamental shifts from the standard approach, such as:
- Shifting from a focus on improving supply to meet existing demand to one that takes consumers’ nutritional needs into consideration. This may involve creating demand – such as using social marketing campaigns, food and nutrition education and behaviour change communication.
- Shifting from a commodity focus that addresses one value chain at a time to one that considers several commodities and their roles within the food system in order to contribute to healthier diets.
- Targeting smallholders and recognizing them in their roles as producers as well as consumers
- Broadening the concept of value in the value chain from a purely economic focus to one that incorporates value that is relevant for nutrition. For example, looking at nutritional value, food loss and waste, and food safety.
The NSVC framework has triggered interest from a wide range of institutions, and has been adopted as a common approach by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, World Food Programme, Bioversity International and IFPRI. The adoption of a common framework allows for stronger collaboration and alignment among organizations designing and implementing NSVC projects, essential to achieve sustainable impacts at scale.
The Nutrition-sensitive value chains: A guide for project design provides practical and evidence-based guidance on how to address these challenges and design effective and inclusive nutrition-sensitive value chain projects.