IFPRI (Value chains)

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Leveraging value chains to improve nutrition: collaborative learning initiative on methods and metrics for improving the identification, design and evaluation of interventions


PI: Aulo Gelli, IFPRI

Jason Donovan (ICRAF)
Mutinta Hambayi, Susanna Sandstorm, Nancy Aburto, David Ryckembusch (all World Food Programme)
Noora-Lisa Aberman, Summer Allen (both IFPRI)
Duration: 28 months (from 1 September 2015)
Value: £249,669
Country of research: Malawi

Summary of the project:

Knowledge gaps

Emerging evidence on the nutrition double burden suggests that income growth alone cannot solve the problem of malnutrition and may in fact create problems linked to overweight and obesity. The challenge from the nutrition perspective is how to sustainably improve diets, as well as other health related behaviours, across different low-income populations. 

In nutrition debates there is growing interest in the capacity of the private sector to contribute to improved nutrition outcomes. Discussions have incorporated thinking around value chain frameworks, which emerged in the late 1990s to help development agencies design interventions that responded to the needs of the private sector and contributed to development.

Value chain approaches can provide useful frameworks to examine the food system and the potential to achieve improved nutrition by leveraging market-based systems. However, understanding the links between value chains and nutrition is complex, and very little evidence exists on the potential or the trade-offs involved. 

Proposed approach

This project aims to operationalise and validate a multidisciplinary framework, including methods and metrics, to support the identification, design and evaluation of interventions in value chains for nutritious foods and improve the sustainability and effectiveness of the World Food Programme (WFP) programmes in Malawi.

The project proposes to build on ongoing operational research between the CGIAR Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) programme and the WFP to provide generic and Malawi specific guidance on linking value chains to nutrition outcomes. 

Linking value chains to nutrition outcomes

The proposed activities will bring together nutrition and agricultural marketing experts alongside policy and programme stakeholders to address the following objectives:

  1. Refine a multidisciplinary framework linking value chains to nutrition outcomes and apply it to WFP’s operations in Malawi. 
  2. Develop and validate new theory-based methods and metrics to support the identification, design and evaluation of interventions that link value chains to nutrition.
  3. Consolidate the evidence and validate research priorities from a multidisciplinary perspective, laying the foundation for prospective impact evaluations and subsequent meta-analyses in this emerging field.