Value chains learning hubs workshop: co-creating solutions for eastern and southern Africa

By Iddo Dror

Illustration of value chains learning hub workshop process

An illustration of the value chains learning hubs workshop process (photo credit: ILRI/Srinivas Mangipudi).

On 31 October and 1 November 2017, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM), welcomed over 20 value chains professionals and experts in ILRI’s Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) campus to discuss the current value chains situation and to work together on defining a path forward by reviewing the tools, practices and methodologies available. The workshop participants, coming from Africa, Europe, Asia and North America in representations of different donor, implementer and research organizations, got an opportunity to share their experience in value chain projects, learn about different value chain tools, different approaches, perceptions and expectations.

The workshop was divided into two major segments. Day 1 was dedicated to getting to know each other and to information sharing, both through landscape ‘use cases’ presentations facilitated by the representatives from GIZ, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Agrinatura and the World Bank (links to all four presentations can be found below). Later that day, participants were invited to take a ‘bus ride’ containing six bus stops, each of them dedicated to a different PIM value chains tool: LINK, pro-WEAI, quantitative value chains tools for impact assessment and scenario analysis, participatory market chain approaches, value chain tools developed under the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Digital extension and mobile/IVR as enablers of scaling (links of the materials presented below). Each of the tools was briefly presented by an expert, who then replied to any questions and led the discussion on the applicability and usefulness of each tool. The day concluded with a recap of the main insights based on the information shared during the day.

Day 2 built on the knowledge shared during day 1, as well as the identified gaps and opportunities, and took it a step further to co-create solutions. The participants were invited to champion different subjects they considered important and discuss them using the so-called open space technology. Five different topics emerged:

  1. Research agenda on value chain performance
  2. Quick and cost-efficient tools implementation opportunities
  3. Value chains data aspects
  4. Engaging the private sector
  5. Bringing it all together

The subject champions summarized key insights, recommendations and concrete next steps – which will be taken forward to PIM’s extended team meeting and 2018 plan of work and budget preparations that will take place at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) headquarters in Washington DC later this month.

Based on the feedback from all the participants, the workshop has proven to be a great success and has most likely set in motion a series of processes that have the potential of positively impacting value chains in the eastern and southern Africa region. Relationships were forged, synergies and opportunities identified, commitment expressed and, most importantly, a positive, enthusiastic and optimistic tone of collaboration and sharing was set for the work and projects to come.

Use case presentations

World Bank: Productive alliances for Africa

GIZ: Value links

Agrinatura: Value chain analysis for development

CRS: Value chain program and toolkit

Bus stop materials (and links to related materials where available)

LINK methodology

Full LINK methodology

Women’s empowerment in agriculture index (WEAI) tool

Pro-WEAI presentation

Quantitative value chains tools for impact assessment and scenario analysis poster

Reading list on quantitative value chain tools

Participatory market chain approaches (PMCA) poster

PMCA publications

Value chain tools developed under the Livestock CRP

Value chain assessment toolkit

Iddo Dror is head of capacity development at the International Livestock Research Institute.