IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Guides for value chain development: a comparative review


  • Jason Donovan
  • Steven Franzel
  • Marcelo Cunha
  • Amos Gyau
  • Dagmar Mithöfer


Purpose - – In recent years, governments, donors, and NGOs have increasingly embraced value chain development (VCD) for stimulating economic growth and combating rural poverty. In line with the rise in interest, there has been a proliferation of guides for VCD. The purpose of this paper is to present the results of a review of 11 guides for value chain along six different dimensions, ranging from objectives and value chain definitions to monitoring impact. The paper concludes with suggestions for the use of guides based on local needs and context, and recommendations for future guide development. Design/methodology/approach - – The review compares the concepts and methods endorsed and it assesses the strengths and limitations of the guides for steering development practice. Findings - – Overall, the guides provide a useful framework for understanding markets and engaging with chain stakeholders, with a strong emphasis on strengthening institutions and achieving sustainability of interventions. However, the guides often lack discussions on the conditions necessary at different levels for VCD to advance development objectives and achieve that sustainability. The guides are designed to be implemented largely independently of the specific context, in which the chain is situated, despite the major implications context has for the design of interventions and overall success of the chain. Attention to mutual learning, whether related to tool design or the outcomes and impacts of VCD interventions, is limited. Research limitations/implications - – More critical reflection and debate is needed on the design of guides for VCD. The authors suggest three areas for this reflection and debate: concepts, methods, and tools for addressing the needs of the poor in value chains; tools for addressing variations in the context; and mechanisms for mutual learning on the design and implementation of VCD. Originality/value - – The paper concludes with various recommendations for guide authors and donors that support VCD.

Suggested Citation

  • Jason Donovan & Steven Franzel & Marcelo Cunha & Amos Gyau & Dagmar Mithöfer, 2015. "Guides for value chain development: a comparative review," Journal of Agribusiness in Developing and Emerging Economies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 5(1), pages 2-23, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:jadepp:v:5:y:2015:i:1:p:2-23

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Articles are not free to download

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Francesco Ricciotti, 2020. "From value chain to value network: a systematic literature review," Management Review Quarterly, Springer, vol. 70(2), pages 191-212, May.
    2. Kuhl, Laura, 2018. "Potential contributions of market-systems development initiatives for building climate resilience," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 131-144.
    3. Sean Irwin & Mark S. Flaherty & Joachim Carolsfeld, 2021. "The contribution of small-scale, privately owned tropical aquaculture to food security and dietary diversity in Bolivia," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 13(1), pages 199-218, February.
    4. Katharine Tröger & Margareta Amy Lelea & Oliver Hensel & Brigitte Kaufmann, 2018. "Embracing the Complexity: Surfacing Problem Situations with Multiple Actors of the Pineapple Value Chain in Uganda," Systemic Practice and Action Research, Springer, vol. 31(5), pages 557-580, October.
    5. Muflikh, Yanti Nuraeni & Smith, Carl & Aziz, Ammar Abdul, 2021. "A systematic review of the contribution of system dynamics to value chain analysis in agricultural development," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 189(C).
    6. Katharine Tröger & Margareta Amy Lelea & Brigitte Kaufmann, 2018. "The Fine Line between Trusting and Cheating: Exploring Relationships between Actors in Ugandan Pineapple Value Chains," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 30(5), pages 823-841, December.
    7. Donovan, Jason & Gelli, Aulo, 2019. "Designing interventions in local value chains for improved health and nutrition: Insights from Malawi," World Development Perspectives, Elsevier, vol. 16(C).
    8. Mutiu A. Oyinlola & Abdulfatai A. Adedeji & Nafisat Olabisi, 2021. "Technology, energy use, and agricultural value addition nexus: an exploratory analysis from SSA countries," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 54(2), pages 457-490, May.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eme:jadepp:v:5:y:2015:i:1:p:2-23. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Virginia Chapman (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.