Improved value chains

Fish Market, Cambodia
As a research organization dedicated to helping achieve development impact we generate and synthesize new knowledge which we then share and help apply. One of the key research questions that we address is: “How can we improve input and output value chains to increase the development impact of aquaculture and fisheries?”
Small scale producers have discovered that adopting new technologies is often not enough to increase their productivity unless the ‘value chain’ for their products is enhanced at the same time. The ‘value chain’ involves the full range of activities required to bring a product to market and includes all the different phases of production, processing, packaging, marketing and delivery to the consumer.
Value chain development may involve one or more of the following:
  • improving efficiency in any of the processes involved in producing, processing and trading a product. For example, by increasing output from the same level of input, improving access to or quality of inputs used, or streamlining logistics. This could also include improvement of the business environment;
  • producing or marketing more sophisticated products with increased value per unit;
  • reducing negative impacts of the value chain, such as waste, pressure on natural resources or exploitation of people;
  • changing or adding functions, upstream or downstream, in the chain. This often leads to vertical integration in the chain;
  • improving coordination between actors in the chain, either horizontally (at the same node in the chain, e.g. fishers associations), or vertically (with actors in other nodes of the chain).
Our research outcomes should bring about improved and diversified value chains, improved institutions, policies and business environment, improved market information, and more equitable participation of people in the value chain, leading to increased production and consumption of fish, especially by poor consumers, and increased income for producers, processors and traders.
Together with partners we are pursuing our work on value chains through the CGIAR Research Programs, especially that on 'Livestock and Fish'. The program focuses on the development of a number of animal source food value chains, including fish in Uganda and Egypt. We are also using a value chain approach in the CGIAR Research Programs dealing with aquatic agriculture systems, climate change and nutrition. The methodology can help answer questions such as how small operators can become and remain more competitive as market chains become increasingly integrated, and also helps identify actions that increase the resilience of fish production value chains to shocks and external pressures.