Value Chain Hub – Eastern and Southern Africa

9-10 November 2015

Ambassador Hotel, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The overall objective of this workshop is to (re) introduce the value chain hub idea to potential hub partners. Specifically, the workshop seeks to refine the generic concept note, discuss key issues and make necessary revisions to assure the successful implementation and viability of the hub.

Specifically the workshop aims to:
  • Refine the value chain hub concept note (CN)
  • Adapt the CN to Southern and Eastern Africa
  • Discuss prioritization plan: resource mobilization, partnerships
  • Refine need assessment survey
  • Draft the VC hub structure and activities

Day 1
  • 08.30 Registration
  • 09.00 Welcome and introductions (objectives, agenda, ground rules and participants' introductions )
  • 9.20 Introduce the VC hub idea (Q&A)
  • 10.00 Break
  • 10.30 Visioning the heaven and hell of the VC hub: the hub concept
  • 12.00 Partners Need Assessment
  • 12:30 Lunch
  • 14:00 Partners Need Assessment - group work continues
  • 15.40 Break
  • 16:00 Adaptation of CN: Southern and Eastern Africa
  • 17.30 Summary, close
Day 2
  • 09.00 Organizing the hub: organizational structure, activities: who hosts, who administers, who chairs, who's involved in doing what...
  • 10.30 Break
  • 11.00 Reflecting on the next steps and summary of workshop outputs
  • 12.30 Lunch break
  • 14.00 Reflecting on the next steps: Any other matter?
  • 15.00 Final reflections an d close

Background materials



Notes from the workshop

Link to Pictures from the workshop


The Value chain hub workshop was organized by the Policy Trade and Value Chains Program (PTVC) of ILRI and supported by the Policy Institutions and Markets CRP. As a partner, the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) funded the workshop.

Workshop Objectives:

The overall objective of the workshop is to (re) introduce the value chain hub idea to potential hub partners. The workshop seeks to refine the generic concept note (CN), discuss key issues and make necessary revisions to assure the successful implementation and viability of the hub. Specifically, the workshop addressed the following:
  1. Refine the value chain hub CN
  2. Adapt the CN to Southern and Eastern Africa
  3. Discuss potential partners’ needs
  4. Plan resource mobilization, partnerships, communications/engagement
  5. Draft the VC hub structure

Main outputs of the workshop

Presentation by
Katjiuongua (Epi) Hikuepi

Refining the draft concept note

Katjiuongua (Epi) Hikuepi opened the workshop with a presentation on the VC Hub idea , which was shared with the participants prior to the workshop (see attached slides and concept note). After the presentation, group discussions were held where participants to critically assess the draft concept note, highlighting its strengths and weaknesses, and making made recommendations for further improvement.. These are summarized below:

What is the strength of the hub idea?

  • The hub will enable systematic assessment of intervention and measure their impact through value chain analysis.
  • The hub will build the capacity of value chain actors as well as facilitate knowledge sharing among them.
  • The hub will provide an avenue for providing evidence and data for research based policy decisions.

What should be integrated in the concept note?

The participants suggested the following:
  • Strengthen the value that the VC hub will add to existing VC initiatives and explicitly spell this out in the concept note.
  • Identify entry points on how the VC hub can contribute to the linked to CAADP agenda and its pillars.
  • Identify and strengthen the role of the private sector in its contribution to the VC hub and how the VC hub can contribute to activities by various private sector entities.
  • Incorporate climate change related issues in the VC hub proposed themes.
  • Develop clear resource mobilization strategy and plan and incorporate this in the CN draft.
  • Strengthen and include a plan on how the hub will engage with policy makers, and other decision-making bodies in Eastern and Southern Africa.
  • Critically assess the existing value chain initiatives in the region like SAKSS and then position the Hub without duplication
  • Include a monitoring and evaluation framework, partner engagement plan and specify an organizational structure for the VC Hub.

Need assessment of value chain actors.

Assessing the needs of the actors in the value chain is integral to the success of the hub. The participants suggested that a wider and representative need assessment should be conducted before establishing the hub. Participants engaged in group work on the potential needs VC actor and their roles. This exercise included identifying constraints and opportunities faced by various VC actors. See abridged summary below:

i. Input suppliers

The identified key challenges faced by input suppliers along the value chain include:
  • Difficulties in adoption of new technologies and innovations
  • Lack of credit facilities
  • Limited access to high quality supplies
  • Lack of contractual arrangement between suppliers and producers
  • Short shelf life of inputs and high variability in terms of quality.

The existing opportunities for input suppliers identified were:
  • Fostering contractual arrangements between input suppliers and producers.
  • Improving information exchange and dissemination
  • Creating awareness on market standards and quality requirements.
  • Capacity development on efficient business practices

ii. Farmers

The identified key challenges faced by farmers along the value chain include:
  • Use of substandard inputs
  • High input costs especially for subsistence farmers
  • Information asymmetry
  • Low bargaining power e
  • Infrastructural constraints , both physical (poor roads) and institutional (e.g.
  • Climate change effects including land degradation.
  • Low productivity.
  • Poor access to land.

The existing opportunities for farmers identified include
  • Increasing demand for agricultural products due to population growth, increasing income of the middle class.
  • Increased agricultural commodity prices.
  • Globalization.

iii. Intermediaries

The identified key challenges faced by intermediaries along the value chain include:
  • Poor knowledge and skills on appropriate product handling to minimize loss of quality and value.
  • High transaction cost and product loss due to infrastructure.
  • Lack of strong organizational umbrella to address their challenges.
  • Poor access working capital.
  • Limited information flow on required quality by the markets.
  • Weak enforcement of standards hence inability to procure right product or hence sub-optimal products.

The existing opportunities for intermediary actors identified include:
  • Strong ongoing efforts to promote regional or cross border trade.
  • Improving information access on prices, market information and information technology platforms.
  • Feedback of information to producers on product and quality requirements.

Proposed areas to focus on during needs assessments for the intermediaries are:
  • Mapping intermediary value chain actors at different levels (continent, regional, national and Sub sector levels)
  • The prevailing market requirements and relate to constraints including standards and Credit access.

Hub adaptation to Eastern and Southern Africa region

One of the next steps is to adapt the generic concept note to Eastern and Southern African regions and to bring on board critical organizations and regional bodies as partners. Participants suggested the following measures to enhance adaptation of the hub the respective regional needs:
  • Identify partners in the region to collaborate with the VC Hub. Potential partners in the region include SACU,, SADC, CADESA for various research topics and technical FAO, COMESA, IGAD, EAC and private sector and farmers’ associations. So far, the VC hub has engaged with and received strong interest from CADESA, COMESA and SACAU.
  • While an office for the hub will be set up in Addis Ababa at ILRI, the partners from Southern Africa strong recommended the establishment an office for Southern Africa as well to better and directly engaged with partners in the region.
  • Recognize and identify gaps of the existing value chains initiatives

Organizational structure of the Hub

Participants agreed that a well organized and structured Hub is crucial to implementing its activities and achieving its objectives. For the hub to achieve this, they suggested that the initiators to review existing value chain organizational structures. Participants specifically note the option to adopt and adapt the structure of AGRODEP. Participants discussed the possibility of embedding the hub within existing structures such as the Regional Strategic Analysis and knowledge Support Systems (ReSAKSS) or creating an independent hub. Overall, the initiators argued for the VC Hub to be independent and find the best links to complement and support existing networks.

The participants suggested that the hub structure to include:
An advisory committee focusing on its content driven and has expertise focus.
  • A governing science advisory board
  • A steering committee
  • A function based structure

Resource mobilization and partnerships:

The participants recommended organizers to engage with and sell the revised concept note to the following potential partners :
  • Private sector including agribusiness companies including input suppliers, processors.
  • Government ministries of agriculture and livestock.
  • Research institutions including other CGIAR centers, CIRAD, and NARS.
  • Agricultural commodity boards and commissioners.
  • Extension agencies and country SAKSS
  • International organizations such as the World Bank, FAO, UNECA and AFDB
  • Academic institutions, both international and national.
  • Regional bodies like SADC, SACU, COMESA, UNECA, AFDB
  • Trade facilitating organizations, farmer, traders and processors’ organizations.
  • NGO and existing capacity development platforms.

While on resource mobilization, the participants suggested the following:
  • Strengthen and revise concept note and share and sell it to development partners and donor agencies for funding..
  • Have a dedicated communication person who will lead resource mobilization efforts.
  • Consider various approaches to raise funds including targeting non-traditional potential donors.

Engagement and communication

The success of the hub also depends on how the hub partners and team engages and communicates with other potential partners and beneficiaries. Participants suggested that:.
  • Develop of a good and smart communication strategy
  • Establish a communication platforms such as website, social media, portal linked to the Value Chain Knowledge Clearing House.
  • Annual workshops and conferences to market the hub to potential partners should be convened.
  • Set up a hub repository of information (linked to the Value Chain Knowledge Clearing House) to facilitate information and tools sharing.
  • Create a community of practice to share and learn among the members.
  • Establish key contact to coordinate all the communication efforts for the hub. Identify and train researchers, extension workers, relevant government contacts on the hub functions and value chain tools and methodologies.


Participants suggested the next steps. ILRI through PTVC and by engaging the hub’s partners so far, including the organizations that attended the workshop, to
  • Revise and share the concept note potential partners including:
    • IITA
    • CTA
    • RESAKSS and the SAKSS
    • IFPRI/ PMI and CRP
    • The CAADP focal person/team and the SAKSS coordinators in target countries.
    • Donors: Bilateral donors (GIZ, USAID/Africa Lead, DANIDA, DFID, SIDA).
    • Multilateral agencies (FAO, IFAD, World Bank, AFDB).
    • NGOs (SNV, CRS).
  • Develop a wider list of potential partners including:
    • Value chain actors and organizations
    • Research and academic institutions including other CGIAR centres.
    • Donor organizations, development partners, private sector and various commodity associations.
    • Policy related organizations including AU, NEPAD, RECs, member states.

Adapt the concept note to Eastern and Southern African needs, and share the final draft with key regional stakeholders in Eastern region (EAC, EAFF, EAGC, IGAD) and Southern Africa (SADC, SACAU, CARDESA).

Upon the completion of the above activities, organize the a official launch of the VC hub by the first week of March 2016

Next steps timelines




Workshop report
30 November 2015
Share revised generic concept note for review
ILRI-PTVC to workshop participants, other stakeholders and partners engaged thus far.
8th January 2016
Feedback on the revised concept note
Participating organizations and groups
22nd January 2016
Incorporate feedback and comments
31st January 2016
Finalize a wider need assessment survey
ILRI and partners
End February 2016
Launch and planning workshop
ILRI-PTVC and partners
Beginning March 2016