IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this book

Building Competitiveness in Africa's Agriculture : A Guide to Value Chain Concepts and Applications


  • C. Martin Webber
  • Patrick Labaste


The development and business communities involved in the African agriculture and agribusiness sectors have recently experienced a strong resurgence of interest in promoting value chains as an approach that can help design interventions geared to add value, lower transaction costs, diversify rural economies, and contribute to increasing rural household incomes in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) countries. Enhancing value chain competitiveness is increasingly recognized as an effective approach to generating growth and reducing the rural poverty prevalent in the region. This is a welcome development for practitioners who have long been convinced of the need to look differently at agriculture not just as a means of survival, but as smaller or larger commercial businesses linked to domestic and global markets and of the need to identify and tap into new sources of potential growth and value addition in the sector. Hopefully, renewed engagement will lead to a substantial increase in the flow of financial resources and technical assistance devoted to supporting market-driven, competitive agro-enterprises and agricultural value chains throughout the African continent. However, there is danger that this renewed engagement may not last, or may even backfire, if the high expectations placed on promoting value chains are not met. Because the development literature is not clear about the concepts and methods relating to value chains, there is risk that sooner or later the benefits of the value chain approach will be overshadowed by unmet expectations. That in turn could cause the approach to be discarded categorically. Although there is no single way to mitigate such risks, this guide aims to offer practical advice and tools to businessmen, policy makers, representatives of farmer or trade organizations, and others who are engaged in SSA agro-enterprise and agribusiness development. This guide is particularly designed for those who want to know more about value chain based approaches, and how to use them in ways that can contribute to sound operational decisions and results for enterprise and industry development, as well as for policy making with respect to doing business, stimulating investment, and enhancing trade in the context of African agriculture.

Suggested Citation

  • C. Martin Webber & Patrick Labaste, 2010. "Building Competitiveness in Africa's Agriculture : A Guide to Value Chain Concepts and Applications," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2401, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbpubs:2401

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


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

    Cited by:

    1. Ana Miranda, 2018. "Public food procurement from smallholder farmers: literature review and best practices," Working Papers 176, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
    2. Jeanne Coulibaly & Theodore Nouhoheflin & Casimir Aitchedji & Maiyaki Damisa & Stephen D'Alessandro & Dieudonne Baributsa & Jess Lowenberg-DeBoer, 2012. "PURDUE IMPROVED COWPEA STORAGE (PICS) SUPPLY CHAIN STUDY Abstract:The Purdue Improved Cowpea Storage (PICS) project was launched in 2007 with a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The pr," Working Papers 12-4, Purdue University, College of Agriculture, Department of Agricultural Economics.
    3. Evan Borkum & Anitha Sivasankaran & Elena Moroz & Matt Sloan, "undated". "Evaluation of the Fruit Tree Productivity Project in Morocco: Final Report on Irrigation Activities," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 09644639569a4e0a8cb85cee5, Mathematica Policy Research.
    4. Evan Borkum & Anitha Sivasankaran & Elena Moroz & Matt Sloan, "undated". "Evaluation of the Fruit Tree Productivity Project in Morocco: Final Report on the Catalyst Fund Activity," Mathematica Policy Research Reports d90e0c50304f4a71bb747d9ca, Mathematica Policy Research.
    5. Stoian, Dietmar & Donovan, Jason & Fisk, John & Muldoon, Michelle F., 2016. "Value-chain development for rural poverty reduction: A reality check and a warning," IFPRI book chapters, in: Devaux, André & Torero, Maximo & Donovan, Jason & Horton, Douglas E. (ed.),Innovation for inclusive value-chain development: Successes and challenges, chapter 2, pages 75-92, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Suzuki, Aya & Jarvis, Lovell S. & Sexton, Richard J., 2011. "Partial Vertical Integration, Risk Shifting, and Product Rejection in the High-Value Export Supply Chain: The Ghana Pineapple Sector," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(9), pages 1611-1623, September.
    7. Vicol, Mark & Neilson, Jeffrey & Hartatri, Diany Faila Sophia & Cooper, Peter, 2018. "Upgrading for whom? Relationship coffee, value chain interventions and rural development in Indonesia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 26-37.
    8. Gómez, Miguel I. & Ricketts, Katie D., 2013. "Food value chain transformations in developing countries: Selected hypotheses on nutritional implications," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 139-150.
    9. Coulibaly, Jeanne Y. & Nouhoheflin, Theodore & Aitchedji, Casimir & Damisa, Maiyaki & D'Alessandro, Stephen & Baributsa, Dieudonne & Lowenberg-DeBoer, James, 2012. "Purdue Improved Cowpea Storage (Pics) Supply Chain Study," Working papers 138675, Purdue University, Department of Agricultural Economics.
    10. Béné, Christophe & Oosterveer, Peter & Lamotte, Lea & Brouwer, Inge D. & de Haan, Stef & Prager, Steve D. & Talsma, Elise F. & Khoury, Colin K., 2019. "When food systems meet sustainability – Current narratives and implications for actions," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 116-130.
    11. Guillermo Arenas, 2016. "From Evidence to Policy Supporting Nepal’s Trade Integration Strategy," World Bank Other Operational Studies 24935, The World Bank.
    12. Mili, Samir, 2016. "An Investigation into the Dynamics of EU Agricultural Imports from Mediterranean Partner Countries," 2016 International European Forum (151st EAAE Seminar), February 15-19, 2016, Innsbruck-Igls, Austria 244541, International European Forum on System Dynamics and Innovation in Food Networks.
    13. Zander, Rauno, 2016. "Risks and opportunities of non-bank based financing for agriculture: the case of agricultural value chain financing," Discussion Papers 7/2016, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE).
    14. Kolavalli, Shashidhara & Mensah-Bonsu, Akwasi & Zaman, Saima, 2015. "Agricultural value chain development in practice: Private sector-led smallholder development:," IFPRI discussion papers 1460, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    15. Ana Miranda, 2019. "Compras públicas de alimentos a pequeños agricultores: revisión bibliográfica y buenas prácticas," Working Papers Spanish 176, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
    16. Donovan, Jason & Franzel, Steve & Cunha, Marcelo & Gyau, Amos & Mithöfer, Dagmar, 2016. "Guides for Value-Chain development: A comparative review," IFPRI book chapters, in: Devaux, André & Torero, Maximo & Donovan, Jason & Horton, Douglas E. (ed.),Innovation for inclusive value-chain development: Successes and challenges, chapter 1, pages 47-74, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    17. Mili, Samir, 2016. "Value Chain Dynamics of Agri-Food Exports from Southern Mediterranean to the European Union: End-Market Perspective," International Journal on Food System Dynamics, International Center for Management, Communication, and Research, vol. 7(4), pages 1-17, July.
    18. Evan Borkum & Anitha Sivasankaran & Jane Fortson & Kristen Velyvis & Christopher Ksoll & Elena Moroz & Matt Sloan, "undated". "Evaluation of the Fruit Tree Productivity Project in Morocco: Design Report," Mathematica Policy Research Reports a34b68aa86c4467ba08f09fa0, Mathematica Policy Research.
    19. Catherine Kilelu & Laurens Klerkx & Amos Omore & Isabelle Baltenweck & Cees Leeuwis & Julius Githinji, 2017. "Value Chain Upgrading and the Inclusion of Smallholders in Markets: Reflections on Contributions of Multi-Stakeholder Processes in Dairy Development in Tanzania," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 29(5), pages 1102-1121, November.
    20. Spencer, Rochelle & Mthinda, Catherine & Masangano, Charles & Boyd, Davina & Davis, John K., 2018. "Uptake and resistance: The rural poor and user-pays agricultural extension in Malawi," World Development Perspectives, Elsevier, vol. 9(C), pages 48-55.
    21. Independent Evaluation Group, 2011. "Growth and Productivity in Agriculture and Agribusiness : Evaluative Lessons from World Bank Group Experience," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2279, June.


    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:wbk:wbpubs:2401. 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: (Thomas Breineder) The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Thomas Breineder to update the entry or send us the correct email address. 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 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.

    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.