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76 CORINNA HAWKES AND MARIE T. RUEL Value-chain approaches to agricultural development to date have also tended


to perceive value chains as only being responsive to consumers; rarely have they considered the influence the chain has on consumption patterns. Yet in practice, production and consumption are mutually constitutive processes. Consumption influences production—more so since the shift toward a globalized market model. But production also influences consumption—with postproduction activities and actors becoming more important in the globalizing era. Through their focus on value, value chains provide a theoretical framework


that captures these mutually constitutive processes. On the supply side, constructing a value chain enables one to identify where nutritional value can be created, as well as where economic value can be created for the actors in the supply chain. On the demand side, the concept of value can be extended to the consumers’ “perception of value.” Value-chain approaches can then be applied to enhance the perception of value of nutritious foods while also creating economic benefits for agricultural actors. Thus emerges a reconceptualized theory of “value chains for nutrition,” in which consumers become actors rather than just a “market,” nutrition and public health goals become paramount in value chain development, and both at-risk producers and consumers are considered. Adopting value-chain concepts thus has enormous potential to help increase


both the supply of nutritious foods to the poor and their demand for those foods (see Box 1). First, value-chain analysis can be used to assess why foods are or are not available in specific communities, why foods cost what they do, how the nutri- ent quality of foods changes through the chain, and how public interventions and policies—such as providing information and knowledge about the nutritional value of foods or subsidizing or investing in production of nutritious foods (for example vegetables and fruits through public research and development)—can help integrate nutrition into the whole chain. Once problems are identified, value- chain approaches can be used to design and implement solutions to increase the availability, affordability, and quality of nutritious foods. Value-chain analysis can also be used to address acceptability and demand constraints. It can be used, for example, to identify what kind of “value” needs to be added to products to increase consumer acceptability and demand, as well as to determine if adding nutritional value alters the way the consumers “value” the products or their “willingness to pay.” Value-chain concepts can be particularly useful to help achieve these goals


because they are concrete and solution oriented while also being expansive in their reach. Since they incorporate all the steps in the chain at all scales in all sectors, value-chain concepts can help identify causes and implement solutions that are not necessarily obvious, or that may even be counterintuitive. Since value-chain concepts explicitly recognize that it is the coordination among the actors that enhances the ability of businesses or sectors to create value, they also encourage the


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