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Rodríguez, Abelardo; Engels, Jeffrey; Mucha, Noreen; Malunga, Chiku, 2015, The Feed the Future Integrating Nutrition in Value Chains Project (Malawi) Performance Evaluation Final Report, Final evaluation, USAID, Washington, DC.

2.1 ENABLING ENVIRONMENT

2.1.9 Value Chains and adding value to value chain components

Recommendation: 14. Consider that in agriculture projects there may be interest in and room for developing value-adding activities in food related projects. Limiting value chain development to trading of raw products means opportunities are missed to increase incomes for vulnerable groups. Determine if farmer interest in food processing exists and then support development of processing of agricultural products. Include support for value chain analysis and development to accommodate these diversified products. Include training on economic managerial skills to run a business.

Reference: Rodríguez, Abelardo; Engels, Jeffrey; Mucha, Noreen; Malunga, Chiku, 2015, The Feed the Future Integrating Nutrition in Value Chains Project (Malawi) Performance Evaluation Final Report, Final evaluation, USAID, Washington, DC.

Evidence sample: the evaluation found that there is considerable enthusiasm in farming communities for developing micro and small enterprises in value addition. Farmers are eager to participate in value-adding activities for a profit, and they acknowledge the need for training in food processing and economic managerial skills to run a business.

Analysis determined that some cooperative members realize that they have potential to aggregate 150-180 MT of soybeans per year. With this volume to sell or store, a cooperative can command a good price when it decides to sell. However, cooperatives would like to learn how to use value addition to go beyond commodity exchange. Transforming soybean into soy milk, soy meat, or cooking oil on a commercial scale requires technical expertise and managerial economic skills that farmers lack. Although farmers realize that their villages need suitable infrastructure such as buildings, water, power, and good roads, they would like to know the feasibility of linking with processors to take their soy, process it, and then distribute and sell the final product. Farmers in villages with infrastructure that can support a processing plant would like to carry out feasibility studies to explore the processing options to assess market demand.

The evaluation concluded that work in the project on the value chain stopped at the commodity exchange level. The addition of agricultural processing to the marketing chain could provide an easy link to nutritious foods. As one Consortium staff stated, “No one can eat raw soybeans.” Processing is a missed opportunity. A program can be developed for import substitution to processing, which of course it is not.

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2.1.9 Value Chains and adding value to value chain components

Recommendation: 16. Facilitate focus on strengthening the functioning of the existing components of the value chain but also adding new components. That is, ensure that value chain development actions consider supporting the development of value such as on food processing even where this does not yet exist.

Reference: Rodríguez, Abelardo; Engels, Jeffrey; Mucha, Noreen; Malunga, Chiku, 2015, The Feed the Future Integrating Nutrition in Value Chains Project (Malawi) Performance Evaluation Final Report, Final evaluation, USAID, Washington, DC.

Evidence sample: the evaluation found that the value chain stops at the commodity exchange level which is too limited. The project needs to work on processing/value addition with its sub-partners. The addition of processing to the marketing chain could provide an easy link to nutritious foods. As one consortium staff stated, “No one can eat raw soybeans.”

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2.3 DIRECT ACTIONS IN COMMUNITIES

2.3.2 Entrepreneurship: Capacity strengthening on economic activities

Recommendation: 9. Include special attention to women’s capacity strengthening including through village savings and loan groups.

Reference: Rodríguez, Abelardo; Engels, Jeffrey; Mucha, Noreen; Malunga, Chiku, 2015, The Feed the Future Integrating Nutrition in Value Chains Project (Malawi) Performance Evaluation Final Report, Final evaluation, USAID, Washington, DC.

Evidence sample: The evaluation determined that capacity building is needed to empower farmers to make collective decisions beyond commodity exchange to invest and implement business plans. Knowledge of business development and financial services, and programs for start-up of value-adding businesses is lacking. Women have more limited access to labour and cash to embrace these activities than men; they also have lower literacy levels. The newly created VSL system can promote collective entrepreneurial ventures. 
Capacity building is also needed to help farmers understand mechanisms to access new markets or buyers and the potential to leverage better negotiations when large volumes of produce are put on sale. Efficient governance in storage and marketing practices in the local associations (GAC level) is a precondition to develop strategic relationships with market actors who are perceived as unreachable or against farmers’ interests.

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2.3 DIRECT ACTIONS IN COMMUNITIES

2.3.2 Entrepreneurship: Capacity strengthening on economic activities

Recommendation: 27. Promote collection of data of costs on production, storage transportation, inputs to the IE activity to enhance IE operators’ decision making skills. This applies to both agricultural as well as other rural and urban production.

References: Rodríguez, Abelardo; Engels, Jeffrey; Mucha, Noreen; Malunga, Chiku, 2015, The Feed the Future Integrating Nutrition in Value Chains Project (Malawi) Performance Evaluation Final Report, Final evaluation, USAID, Washington, DC.

Evidence sample: The evaluation determined that a lack of on-farm records about productivity, costs of inputs and produce, and transportation and storage costs pose a challenge to enhancing farmers’ decision-making skills. Lack of records also makes it difficult for INVC to properly populate key data to estimate performance.
The evaluation also noted that the project supported collective marketing options for farmers by giving them leverage in negotiating for their crops through providing them with market intelligence. The project supports farmers to store and sell grain at their convenience with a receipt that can be used as a collateral for short-term loans; auctions to sell; and an option whereby buyers and sellers trade during a live electronic auction.

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2.3 DIRECT ACTIONS IN COMMUNITIES

2.3.2 Entrepreneurship: Capacity strengthening on economic activities

Recommendation: 29. Consider facilitating the development of collective marketing for producers.

  • Ensure that to build successful collective marketing:
  • Trust is built through transparency
  • Access to stock keeping areas is facilitated if needed
  • Governance of associations is strengthened

References: Rodríguez, Abelardo; Engels, Jeffrey; Mucha, Noreen; Malunga, Chiku, 2015, The Feed the Future Integrating Nutrition in Value Chains Project (Malawi) Performance Evaluation Final Report, Final evaluation, USAID, Washington, DC.

Evidence sample: Facilitate collective marketing with specific actions. To improve collective marketing, it is essential to build trust among farmers through transparency; strengthen governance of farmers associations; encourage farmers to collectively aggregate at warehouse centres.

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2.4 APPROACHES TO ENHANCE LIVELIHOODS, EQUITY AND INCLUSION

2.4.4. Improving food security through enhancing livelihoods of people dependent on IE

Recommendation: 5. Take into consideration when assessing the productivity of informal economy operators that all factors that enter into assessing it are taken into account. This would include factors such as food production area, labour, transport, and other logistics.

Reference: Rodríguez, Abelardor; Engels, Jeffrey; Mucha, Noreen; Malunga, Chiku, 2015, The Feed the Future Integrating Nutrition in Value Chains Project (Malawi) Performance Evaluation Final Report, Final evaluation, USAID, Washington, DC.

Evidence sample: the Evaluation Team found that there are many obstacles to measuring the productivity and/or profitability of groundnuts and soybean enterprises. Production measured by the number of bags per plot or per household is relatively easy, but measurement requires additional measurement of the land or labour used in production. To address this, the Consortium started a systematic assessment of productivity in 2014 through the Household Annual Beneficiary Agricultural Outcome Survey.

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Valentina Corbucci
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19 June 2018

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