Aid groups can do more than just link small farmers to the value chain. They can also help fix it, according to Elsa Scholte, head of corporate communication at SNV.
Value chains refer to the networks of people, organizations and activities that produce, process and deliver goods or services. SNV, a Dutch nonprofit, has been focused on strengthening those systems and making them sustainable in the developing world. One way it does that is by assuming the roles of knowledge broker, adviser, facilitator and mediator between stakeholders.
“The thing with value chains is if there’s a blockage somewhere in the chain, it goes wrong,” Scholte told Devex Editor Rolf Rosenkranz at the 2012 European Development Days. “You know you may have a great produce, that’s one, you may have a wholesaler that likes it, that’s two. But if there’s no distributor or there’s no road to transport, it still goes wrong. So you need actually organizations that can make the connections.”
And that’s where aid groups can come in, to find, for instance, those than can supply the infrastructure, or work with the government on tax regulations to make local produce more attractive for the domestic market, she added.
Watch the conversation between Rosenkranz and Scholte on SNV’s experience in helping bring small farmers to formal markets, part of a series of conversations we video-taped with global development leaders in the center of the action at EDD12 in Brussels.
Check out our complete coverage of European Development Days 2012.