A value chain is the full range of activities – including design, production, and distribution – required to bring a product or service from conception to its final market destination. This topic is becoming increasingly important for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) as traditional food systems are being replaced by organized value chains.

Roots spoke with Fabrizio Felloni, Deputy Director of the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD, who conducted a corporate-level evaluation on IFAD's engagement in pro-poor value chain development. The evaluation covers projects supported by IFAD over the last 10 years and draws information from 77 projects conducted in 29 countries. Given the large variety and quantity of information in the evaluation, the findings are very heterogeneous.

Mr Felloni explains that it is possible for IFAD to achieve its goal of reaching the very poor through value chain approaches provided that certain conditions are met. For example, selecting commodities that require inputs of unskilled labour rather than high investment of capital or ownership of land.