Food value chains

KIT works with farmer organisations, companies, governments, funders and NGOs abroad and in the Netherlands to build sustainable and inclusive value chains in the agricultural food sector in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

With our clients and partners we assess, design and study the required interventions and approaches for making value chains more sustainable and inclusive. The aim of the work is to realise development benefits along the entire value chain − especially for smallholder farmers and the labour market − alongside increases in trade.

A move towards smallholder farming value chains

A value chain is the complete set of steps that take a product from its origin to its destination, i.e. ‘from farm to fork’. As part of their efforts to boost agricultural production in emerging economies, agricultural food (‘agri-food’) companies and  governments are heavily investing in their smallholder suppliers. For example, companies now increasingly provide training and other services to farmers, sometimes with financial support from the public sector.

Both the private and public sector have a role to play in building smallholder value chains. However, for many, working with smallholders is only a recent development. Experience and best practices are lacking, and roles and responsibilities are still being explored. In practice, working with smallholder farmers in a sustainable and long-term way is much more complex than was initially expected.

The practices of smallholder farmers vary greatly and working with them in large numbers means that building knowledge and learning from practice is quite complex. Unravelling this complexity, developing new tools and approaches, implementing them and measuring impact are essential to sustainable development progress.

Our approach to sustainability

KIT is always looking for cutting-edge themes, topics and market trends in our work on sustainable value chains that we can apply in practice. Sustainable means economically viable, environmentally sound, socially inclusive, and community-minded.

KIT tailors our services to meet our clients’ needs. This ranges from strengthening sustainable value chains  to providing learning services and knowledge management.

Strengthening sustainable value chains

  • Value-chain and sector assessment: feasibility studies; sector analyses; mapping of business and policy environments; mapping and profiling of chain actors; assessments of farmers and their organisations; analyses of sustainability issues in production and trade.
  • Value-chain implementation design: identifying and designing  strategies and approaches for development practitioners and agri-food companies to improve sustainable value chains; strengthening producer organisations; bridging capacity gaps; developing entrepreneurship.
  • Chain monitoring and impact evaluation: monitoring chain development and evaluating its economic, social and environmental impacts.

Knowledge provision

Facilitating learning trajectories: learning from operational experience in organisations or between organisations; facilitating multi-stakeholder processes and public-private partnerships. 

Short courses and tailor-made training: learner-based participatory training on sustainable value chain development, offering a variety of learning methods and practical tools relevant to the context of the client; development of training materials on smallholder value chain development.

Knowledge management
Developing publications, brochures, short films and websites aimed at sharing knowledge among public and private chain actors  and the sector at large.