A field practitioner’s perspective on developing green food value chains
The article considers a bottom-up approach to developing green food value chains based on a step-by-step approach. The process attempts to learn from frugal innovations that may be environmentally friendly (green), found in bottom of the pyramid (BOP) contexts and the related informal food sector. The step-by-step process starts with forming and facilitating a multi-stakeholder working group, then moves on to appraise various food value chains, and then selects one or more specific food value chains to green. Each is then mapped, while concurrently providing for an environmental hotspot analysis and a stakeholder analysis. The approach then turns to setting specific objectives and strategies, planning and action planning, setting up a monitoring and evaluation system, and holding regular multi-stakeholder working group meetings during the implementation time period of the approach. The last step of the process considers the possibility of contributing to, and fostering, the development of a policy action plan. The approach is intended mainly for field practitioners with all its advantages and limitations, but can also provide important field-based information to local and national stakeholders, including policy-makers. The approach can also provide support in the delineation, formulation, and importantly implementation of policies devoted to developing green food value chains.
Training owner/managers of small and medium agri-food enterprises (SMAEs) in Tanzania
This article looks at the training methods and the training materials used to increase the business management and technical processing competencies of owner/managers in small and medium agri-food enterprises in Tanzania. Adapting training methods and materials requires an in-depth understanding of owner/manager training needs and how these can be appraised and diagnosed. Common training needs assessment (TNA) methods were adapted to three workshops that did not overtly address a TNA, but were organized to covertly address a TNA. The results of this method provided for considerable and in-depth insights into adapting training methods and materials to suit the social and cultural context. The focus was on enabling and empowering owner/managers to be co-trainers, building on their knowledge, attitudes, skills, and behaviours of doing business. This implied that the training had to be practical, interactive, tactile, experiential, highly verbal in terms of communications (the communications being socially and culturally sensitive), and use pictographic images that were socially and culturally sensitive. The results of this training programme showed that owner/managers increased their competencies in terms of business management and processing techniques, but also provided for increased distributional networks and increased sales and revenue. The basic tenet is: prepare and implement training programmes with owner/managers and not for owner/managers.
Developing greener food value chains: environmentally friendly tomato post-harvest operations in four cities
The main aim of the study was to attempt to better understand environmentally friendly tomato post-harvest operations provided by micro- and small-scale farmers and traders in the context of bottom-of-the-pyramid (BOP) peri-urban and urban areas of four major cities: Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Nairobi (Kenya), Tunis (Tunisia), and Cairo (Egypt). The study was initiated with an in-depth literature review and was followed by in-country, unstructured, informal, one-to-one interviews with a random number of micro- and small-scale farmers and traders and pictographic observations of table tomato post-harvest operations. The findings of the study provided a sample of practices and ‘innovations’ in post-harvest operations that used prevalently recycled post-harvest equipment, sparingly used natural resources, such as water, and powered operations using only energy of human origin. The findings ranged from the use of home-made sand filters for water purification, to large green leaves for ‘refrigeration’, to recycled paint buckets being used as ‘solar ovens’. Waste was averted continually and if it did occur waste was recycled. The findings of the study contributed to increasing knowledge and consequently provided for a better understanding of practices that can potentially contribute to developing more environmentally friendly (greener) food value chains.