Value chain development with the extremely poor: evidence and lessons from CARE, Save the Children, and World Vision
CARE, Save the Children, and World Vision are combining value chain development (VCD) with gender and nutrition programming to alleviate poverty and food insecurity among the extremely poor. We explore what is unique about VCD with the extremely poor and how specific levers enhance productivity and profitability, equity, and empowerment. We offer evidence to date and lessons learned.
Market-based approaches to food security often increase agricultural productivity and income yet sometimes fail to enhance nutrition. When food security programming combines market and food systems with a specific focus on women and girls, economic and nutrition outcomes benefit. We identify distinctive and shared elements from market and food systems and highlight how they enhance nutrition outcomes when they are combined. We describe food security programming by CARE and World Vision in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, demonstrating nutrition gains in food insecure households.
Building frontline market facilitators' capacity: the case of the ‘Integrating Very Poor Producers into Value Chains Field Guide’
Utilizing the case of the Integrating Very Poor Producers into Value Chains Field Guide, the article provides its strengths (extensive tools and worksheets, case studies from recovery and development settings) and limitations (very brief overview of market systems, only focuses on the implementation phase of market development, only focuses on integrating the very poor into markets). The knowledge assessment results of two workshops lead the author to question how much is learned in workshop settings. The online survey showed that the most used section of the Field Guide was ‘Linking Very Poor Producers with Buyers & Suppliers’. The 70 per cent experiential, 20 per cent from others, and 10 per cent formal ratios regarding learning led the author to recommend more on-the-job learning. Extensive feedback from the users provided lessons on improved tool design and capacity building for tool users. The article concludes with a number of recommendations: frontline workers need written guides; translate guides; include a monitoring and evaluation system; get organizational commitment to build frontline market facilitators' capacity; more research into the different methods of building capacity (workshops; written guides; a monitoring and evaluation system; and online and in person training events are likely the most effective combination).
This article draws lessons from ACDI/VOCA, CARE, and World Vision-implemented food security programmes to answer three questions: how can push/pull activities better integrate the extremely poor into 1) output and 2) input markets? And 3) how can push/pull programme activities help improve intra-household gender dynamics and financial decision-making to improve the food and nutrition security of household members? In output markets the lessons include: 1) that market development and savings group interventions can be implemented by the same officer; and 2) projects should move early to have a private sector provider take over the village savings and loan associations. While there are constraints in the input markets, there are also push strategies for increasing production, including direct delivery of inputs to farmers, vouchers to increase demand, and Farmer Business Group development to increase collective input buying and pull strategies such as linkages with buyers for the selling of products and tapering down subsidies. Intrahousehold gender equitable decision-making can positively impact the food security of the household members. Mixed gender Village Economic and Social Associations are efficient in tackling intra-household decision-making. This allows the provision of flexible and efficient financial services as well as an opportunity to engage husbands and wives in gender-related dialogues.
The theme of this special issue is the potential for inclusive financial and market systems to reduce extreme poverty and improve food security.