Meeting the Challenges of Value Chain Development: A Learning Event


Tuesday February 7th, 2012
BREAKFAST: 08:30 AM - 09:00 AM
KEYNOTE ADDRESS: 09:00 AM - 10:00 AM
CONCURRENT ELECTIVES A: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Title: Understanding gender and culture in market systems
Many of the interventions needed to make value chains competitive and to facilitate broad-based growth are rooted in catalyzing behavior and social change in communities and among value chain players. In addition, changes in market systems can affect socio-cultural practices by shifting control over resources. How can projects understand socio-cultural dynamics, and how can they turn that understanding into activities and approaches that facilitate behavior and social change that leads to increased incomes, wellbeing and equity? This session will look at the interconnection of social dimensions, including gender, with market systems, and will encourage discussion around how development stakeholders can best respond to these social dimensions.
Title: Engaging the private sector
USAID has embraced private sector engagement to leverage private sector investments for development. How to ensure that these investments have the greatest developmental impact is a key area of interest that this session will explore. Panelists will draw on lessons from USAID's public-private partnerships, Michael Porter's creating shared value, and field experiences, as they debate key issues in engaging with the private sector. Participants will engage in discussions around opportunities and challenges in leveraging private sector investments to achieve development objectives.
Title: Creating an Enabling Environment
The business enabling environment is but part of the larger market system that value chain programs aim to affect. This session will begin with an overview of this system, looking at how the policy environment, social and cultural norms, infrastructure and governance interact with value chains and their service markets. Panelists and participants will explore "hot issues" faced by those engaged in business environment programming and reform such as the effect of de-linking value chain and enabling environment programs, the challenges of public-private dialogue, and achieving private sector involvement in the policymaking process.
Title: Integrating food security and nutrition
There is a need to better understand the relationship between agricultural value chain development and food security. Agriculture appears to be key for increasing producer incomes, and likely could reduce food prices for consumers. But it is less clear how agricultural value chain development contributes to improved nutritional status. This session will draw on the research community, donors and a panel of development practitioners to address some of the challenges and highlight emerging best practices in using a value chain approach to achieve the food security objectives of availability, access and utilization. Participants will identify complementary programming needed to maximize the impact of value chain development on food security, and will discuss how business interests can be aligned to contribute to this goal.
NETWORKING LUNCH: 12:00 PM - 01:00 PM
CONCURRENT ELECTIVES B: 01:00 PM - 05:00 PM
Title: Financing value chains
For value chains to grow and incorporate more of the world's poor, a diverse range of financing needs must be met. From input credit and working capital, to more sophisticated instruments such as leasing and factoring, we have learned that we can lower the risk of providing these products by building on the close inter-relation of value chain actors and understanding the financing needs and cash flow of the entire household. This session will provide a brief overview of a model of integrated rural and agricultural finance, and examine three recent country-specific "value chain finance" projects (Haiti, Kenya and Honduras) that were built on such an approach. The session will emphasize broad strategies for ensuring that finance contributes to overall value chain competitiveness. Participants will be engaged through an innovations marketplace that will highlight specific "value chain finance" products and services, and explore lessons learned and replication potential.
Title: Reaching the very poor
Research suggests that the 'poorest of the poor' rarely benefit from value chain development initiatives as a result of constraints that preclude them from participating in markets and attracting the attention of the private sector. Recently, USAID developed a framework and tools, hosted an e-consultation, and commissioned case studies to better understand how value chain development programs, complemented by social and economic strengthening activities, can integrate the very poor into market opportunities. This session will include presentations from practitioners and donors illustrating how the goals of integrating the very poor and stimulating economic growth can be mutually supportive. Participants will discuss the advantages, challenges and means to reach the very poor using a value chain approach and share examples of this in practice.
Title: Facilitating sustainable change
In the field of value chain development, facilitation is accepted as a best practice for achieving sustained benefits beyond the life of a project. However, it presents donors and practitioners with challenges, such as longer time horizons to see change, less predictable results, and different staffing needs. In this session, we will hear a leading expert explain the key factors underpinning facilitation as well as implementers from the Philippines and Uganda share their challenges and successes. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in smaller groups with the presenters and their peers on practical issues of facilitation, and will learn about tools, resources and ways to stay engaged with the learning community on the topic of facilitation.
Title: Learning and Evaluating Within Dynamic Systems
Given the dynamic nature of value chain development activities, integrating learning into the program cycle is critical to achieving results. Because results can require years, impact evaluation is most useful over the longer run to inform best practices going forward. However, integrating learning at the project level requires effective and continuous flows of knowledge throughout the project team, with value chain actors, partners and donors. This session will explore how to integrate learning into programs and projects designed to leverage and transform market systems. Participants will have the opportunity to hear the latest evidence on the impacts of selected value chain projects, discuss how to evaluate these complex programs that have systemic impacts, and identify indicators that can measure the sustainability of systemic change. The session will include updates from USAID's Bureau of Policy, Planning and Learning with respect to the Agency's plans to strengthen learning throughout the program cycle.

Wednesday February 8th, 2012
BREAKFAST: 08:30 AM - 09:00 AM
CONCURRENT ELECTIVES B (repeated): 09:00 AM - 01:00 PM
Title: Financing value chains
For value chains to grow and incorporate more of the world's poor, a diverse range of financing needs must be met. From input credit and working capital, to more sophisticated instruments such as leasing and factoring, we have learned that we can lower the risk of providing these products by building on the close inter-relation of value chain actors and understanding the financing needs and cash flow of the entire household. This session will provide a brief overview of a model of integrated rural and agricultural finance, and examine three recent country-specific "value chain finance" projects (Haiti, Kenya and Honduras) that were built on such an approach. The session will emphasize broad strategies for ensuring that finance contributes to overall value chain competitiveness. Participants will be engaged through an innovations marketplace that will highlight specific "value chain finance" products and services, and explore lessons learned and replication potential.
Title: Reaching the very poor
Research suggests that the 'poorest of the poor' rarely benefit from value chain development initiatives as a result of constraints that preclude them from participating in markets and attracting the attention of the private sector. Recently, USAID developed a framework and tools, hosted an e-consultation, and commissioned case studies to better understand how value chain development programs, complemented by social and economic strengthening activities, can integrate the very poor into market opportunities. This session will include presentations from practitioners and donors illustrating how the goals of integrating the very poor and stimulating economic growth can be mutually supportive. Participants will discuss the advantages, challenges and means to reach the very poor using a value chain approach and share examples of this in practice.
Title: Facilitating sustainable change
In the field of value chain development, facilitation is accepted as a best practice for achieving sustained benefits beyond the life of a project. However, it presents donors and practitioners with challenges, such as longer time horizons to see change, less predictable results, and different staffing needs. In this session, we will hear a leading expert explain the key factors underpinning facilitation as well as implementers from the Philippines and Uganda share their challenges and successes. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in smaller groups with the presenters and their peers on practical issues of facilitation, and will learn about tools, resources and ways to stay engaged with the learning community on the topic of facilitation.
Title: Learning and Evaluating Within Dynamic Systems
Given the dynamic nature of value chain development activities, integrating learning into the program cycle is critical to achieving results. Because results can require years, impact evaluation is most useful over the longer run to inform best practices going forward. However, integrating learning at the project level requires effective and continuous flows of knowledge throughout the project team, with value chain actors, partners and donors. This session will explore how to integrate learning into programs and projects designed to leverage and transform market systems. Participants will have the opportunity to hear the latest evidence on the impacts of selected value chain projects, discuss how to evaluate these complex programs that have systemic impacts, and identify indicators that can measure the sustainability of systemic change. The session will include updates from USAID's Bureau of Policy, Planning and Learning with respect to the Agency's plans to strengthen learning throughout the program cycle.
NETWORKING LUNCH: 01:00 PM - 02:00 PM
CONCURRENT ELECTIVES A (repeated): 02:00 PM - 04:00 PM
Title: Understanding gender and culture in market systems
Many of the interventions needed to make value chains competitive and to facilitate broad-based growth are rooted in catalyzing behavior and social change in communities and among value chain players. In addition, changes in market systems can affect socio-cultural practices by shifting control over resources. How can projects understand socio-cultural dynamics, and how can they turn that understanding into activities and approaches that facilitate behavior and social change that leads to increased incomes, wellbeing and equity? This session will look at the interconnection of social dimensions, including gender, with market systems, and will encourage discussion around how development stakeholders can best respond to these social dimensions.
Title: Engaging the private sector
USAID has embraced private sector engagement to leverage private sector investments for development. How to ensure that these investments have the greatest developmental impact is a key area of interest that this session will explore. Panelists will draw on lessons from USAID's public-private partnerships, Michael Porter's creating shared value, and field experiences, as they debate key issues in engaging with the private sector. Participants will engage in discussions around opportunities and challenges in leveraging private sector investments to achieve development objectives.
Title: Creating an Enabling Environment
The business enabling environment is but part of the larger market system that value chain programs aim to affect. This session will begin with an overview of this system, looking at how the policy environment, social and cultural norms, infrastructure and governance interact with value chains and their service markets. Panelists and participants will explore "hot issues" faced by those engaged in business environment programming and reform such as the effect of de-linking value chain and enabling environment programs, the challenges of public-private dialogue, and achieving private sector involvement in the policymaking process.
Title: Integrating food security and nutrition
There is a need to better understand the relationship between agricultural value chain development and food security. Agriculture appears to be key for increasing producer incomes, and likely could reduce food prices for consumers. But it is less clear how agricultural value chain development contributes to improved nutritional status. This session will draw on the research community, donors and a panel of development practitioners to address some of the challenges and highlight emerging best practices in using a value chain approach to achieve the food security objectives of availability, access and utilization. Participants will identify complementary programming needed to maximize the impact of value chain development on food security, and will discuss how business interests can be aligned to contribute to this goal.
PANEL DISCUSSION: 04:00 PM - 04:45 PM
CLOSING REMARKS: 04:45 PM - 05:00 PM