VCA4D – the year so far
Over the past few months VCA4D has continued to launch a number of new value chain analyses, bringing the total number of studies to twenty so far!
The value chains analysed vary widely from palm oil to bananas, through beef to aquaculture, with certain products such as coffee, cashew nuts and cocoa being analysed in multiple countries. The VCA4D methodology is proving to respond to real concerns in terms of providing evidence-based elements on the three domains of sustainability, so much so that we are already performing an analysis on a second value chain in four countries.
The conclusion of a number of studies this year is allowing VCA4D to look closely at how the methodology is being applied and to capitalise on lessons learnt. As we gather the data generated in responding to the framing questions of the methodology, attention is turned to the development of the VCA4D Knowledge Management and Information System (KIMS). The development of the KIMS will involve a number of Agrinatura members working alongside the European Commission and will form a cornerstone of the project, with the aim to bolster the community of practice relating to value chain analysis that will extend beyond the life of this project.
All VCA4D teams have stressed the importance of having the opportunity to feedback to local stakeholders that have provided inputs, in order for them to benefit from the results of the analysis. As such, several workshops are being planned to facilitate both these discussions and to provide a forum for the policy dialogue between EU Delegations and their local partners to strengthen relations and improve policy coherence between policy actions and projects.
One of these workshops, concerning the coffee value chain, took place in Honduras in October 2018, with a national workshop taking place in the capital, Tegucigalpa and a further two regional workshops that took place in Copán and El Paraíso attended by over 200 stakeholders (local farmers, donors, NGOs, farmers’ organisations, etc).
During the course of the year the Scientific Director (Agrinatura) has been representing VCA4D at various events, including at the 166th EAAE Seminar on Sustainability in the Agri-Food Sector where a paper on VCA4D was presented, ‘Bridging research and policy: evidence based indicators on agricultural value chains to inform decision-makers on inclusiveness and sustainability’ (Dabat, M., Fabre, P., Orlandoni, O. 2018). The Agrinatura General Assembly in April, 2018, was also a great opportunity for the VCA4D PMU to engage with Agrinatura members and to deepen their involvement and ownership of the project.
Capacity building is of critical importance to ensure all stakeholders fully understand the results being produced from the analyses. One of the avenues that is currently being launched to achieve this goal is the development of serious games, which will be used for training purposes and on how policy dialogue can be reinforced by using the information gained from the project.
In order to reach a wider audience with regards to the analyses, a 6-page study brief is produced for each study, highlighting the key aspects from the four areas of analysis. The study briefs, along with further information on ongoing activities, can be found at Capacity4Dev ( https://europa.eu/capacity4dev/value-chain-analysis-for-development-vca4d-).
Upcoming calls for experts can also be monitored via the Agrinatura website .
Text by Sara Jones