Value Chains

Strong agricultural value chains create livelihoods, increase incomes, and promote economic growth. By supporting development of domestic industries, improving local markets, and expanding export opportunities, IRD’s interventions focus on enabling all factors along the value chain – including farmers, input suppliers, wholesalers, transporters, food processors, and lending institutions – to become viable partners in their countries’ economies, generate employment, and improve food security. IRD approaches its value chain work systematically.

We analyze markets to understand where bottlenecks occur along the entire value chain, design strategic investments to relieve these bottlenecks, and provide actors all along the value chain with training and ideas to improve quality, productivity, and linkages to inputs and markets.


Much of IRD’s value chain work is funded through the US Department of Agriculture’s Food for Progress and Food for Education programs. For example, in high-potential regions of Burkina Faso, Cameroon, and Mali we are enhancing the competitiveness of fonio and sesame—critically important local crops—by disseminating improved seed varieties and providing training in modern agricultural practices. The projects improve processing and transformation opportunities through introduction of appropriate technologies and access to credit. IRD also provides management training and organizational capacity building to farmers’ organizations, women’s groups, and small scale-businesses, with a special focus on entrepreneurial skills, value chain analysis, and branding and packaging.

The Gambia River Basin Cashew Value Chain Enhancement Project (CEP) promotes a farmer-centered approach that builds on local knowledge of cashew production and marketing. The project strengthens farmers and farmer associations and promotes increased productivity as well as value-added processing of cashew apples and raw nuts. The project strategy is based on consolidation of private initiatives, hands-on technical training in basic business concepts and organizational management, and best production and post-collection handling practices. CEP uses an adapted farmer field school approach and makes use of interactive radio, exchange visits and study tours, linkages and networking with other stakeholders such as cashew traders, exporters, transporters, and trade associations.


The Restoring Livelihoods – Strengthening Value Chains (REVALUE) project partnered IRD with thousands of Zimbabwean farmers for production of groundnuts,sesame, sugar beans, and paprika. IRD collaborated with private and public sector groups to reestablish agro-trader activity through a voucher scheme and improved linkages between agro-dealers and agricultural input companies. The project also worked with banks to extend credit to commodity agro-trader companies for the commercialization of farmers’ output. IRD helped farmers increase crop yields through extension work, training workshops, consultations, seminars and public meetings. To encourage competition and higher prices for smallholder farmers, we facilitated the entry of private sector entities into target areas. More recently, IRD has been managing a commercial lending facility, AgriTrade, that provides liquidity for agribusinesses working with smallholder farmers. Loans support contract farming arrangements with smallholder farmers and the purchase of agricultural inputs and processing equipment.


In Serbia, the USAID-funded Agribusiness Project is improving agricultural productivity, expanding value-added agricultural processing, and opening new export markets for berries, dairy, herbs and spices, mushrooms, livestock, tree fruits, and vegetables. IRD works with producer organizations and service providers that support Serbia’s agribusiness sector, providing them with the latest technical and management skills and building a stable market for their services. We also work directly with businesses, developing their marketing skills and knowledge of export and domestic markets. Domestically, IRD introduces local producers to supermarket buyers and helps them conclude contracts to replace imported products. On the international front, the project works with government agencies to educate producers on international market opportunities.


Since 2000 IRD has supported the production and distribution of fortified and soy-enriched staple foods that offer low-cost options for low-income families and school children in economically deprived areas of Southeast Asia. The programs incorporate job and income generation components, generating thousands of long-term jobs. IRD also contributes to improved understanding of food utilization through its promotion of dietary diversification and micronutrient intake. IRD is assisting the private sector to produce soy-enriched noodles, which are sold to low-income consumers at reduced prices and more recently, IRD has been promoting production and marketing of fortified soy milk and soy sauce fortified with iodine, iron, and vitamin A.


The Southern Regional Agricultural Development (SRAD) program is increasing long- and short-term agricultural jobs and incomes in Afghanistan and increasing the confidence of Afghans in their government. A follow-on to the very successful USAIDfunded AVIPA project, SRAD operates in “key terrain districts” to address constraints and bottlenecks along six crop and livestock value chains: fruits and nuts, vegetables, legumes, forage, livestock, and cereals. IRD’s extensive market analysis identified these value chains as having the greatest potential to increase livelihoods and incomes as well as support the region’s short-term stabilization and longer term development objectives. The project addresses specific weaknesses in each value-chain related to farming practices, transportation and infrastructure, packaging and processing, and markets.


Afghanistan Vouchers for Increased Productive Agriculture

AVIPA and AVIPA Plus were relief and stabilization programs funded by USAID and imp... more

Enhancing the Value Chain Competitiveness of Sesame and Fonio in Mali and Burkina Faso

IRD is using proceeds from monetization of wheat, vegetable oil, and rice to enhanc... more

Improving Agricultural Income and Employment in Zimbabwe

AgriTrade is a USAID-supported commercial lending facility that links farmers and a... more

Peace through Development

The Sahel region of West Africa is increasingly threatened by violent extremist gro... more

Restoring Livelihoods and Strengthening Value Chains in Zimbabwe

The REVALUE program worked with smallholder groundnut and bean farmers in Zimbabwe... more

Sound Business Models for Sustainable Incomes from Cashew

Quality Cashew is Good Business is now a well-known tagline throughout cashew-growi... more

Southern Regional Agricultural Development in Afghanistan

The Southern Regional Agricultural Development (S-RAD) program works to increase lo... more

Strengthening the Onion Value Chain in Niger

IRD and its partner organization SNV are implementing the $3 million onion value ch... more

Support to Pakistan Farmers Through Improved Citrus Orchards

Pakistan produces 13 million tons of fruit and vegetables, worth over $2 billion ea... more

The Serbia Agribusiness Project

The Serbian Agribusiness Project (SAP), funded by USAID, is assisting the Serbian a... more