1. The VCA4D Methodology

The EC/INTPA is involved in supporting investment projects and policy dialogue (through budget support or other assistance schemes) to enhance sustainable development in agriculture and favour a Green Deal. Agri-based Value Chains (VC) are a major channel for agricultural development and for food and nutrition security, due to their capacity to mobilise resources from various economic sectors, create economic value and generate employment. They represent an operational framework for engaging with farmers and business.

In order to achieve the overarching goal of sustainable and inclusive development, support to agri-based VCs requires that social, economic and environmental dimensions be thoroughly considered. Analysing VCs allows an understanding of relevant impact pathways and identifies at which stages of the chain and for which actors, investments and support could create advantages and eliminate constraints and bottlenecks. This enables the tracking of how development actions contribute to Sustainable Development Goals and EC/INTPA's strategic objectives.

INTPA developed its own interdisciplinary methodology for value chain analysis (VCA), reshuffling, combining and completing standard methods and specific tools for VCA. Since 2016, the VCA4D project has conducted over 30 studies using this standard methodology, which has been updated in 2021, taking stock of the lessons learnt during the first phase of implementation.

The purpose of value chain analysis is to provide decisionmakers with evidence-based information that relate to sustainable development strategies. It is directed to all policy makers and stakeholders, in accordance with the needs of the EC as an aid provider. This is done by producing evidence-based elements (supported by indicators measured quantitatively or based on expert assessments) allowing to answer to 4 framing questions:

  • What is the contribution of the VC to economic growth?
  • Is this economic growth inclusive?
  • Is the VC socially sustainable?
  • Is the VC environmentally sustainable?

VCA4D measures key indicators that, when properly assessed and contextualised through expert discernment, provide fundamental information on a VC’s impact and sustainability. This allows for the establishment of baselines and of an accurate description of the situation of actors. The ensuing image of the VC helps visualise practical operations, projects and policies and can be valuably used in the policy dialogue. Over time it enables the tracking of how development actions contribute to Sustainable Development Goals and EC/INTPA’s strategic objectives.

A methodological decision was made not to aggregate the knowledge elements into one global appraisal or a single indicator. Informing decision-makers on each of the 4 framing questions will allow them to make their own judgement.

Below, you will find the VCA4D – Methodological Brief version 2 of 2021.

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last update
11 February 2022

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