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02 Jun 2020

F&S’ adapted services for value chains during COVID-19

Fair & Sustainable Consulting (F&S) offers services on value chain development in adapted format now that many value chain projects and programmes are affected by COVID-19 measures  and our clients have to work differently to achieve the expected  results. F&S helps  in developing and implementing ways to overcome  value chain challenges, posed by COVID-19 restrictions.

Much has changed unexpectedly!

(Agricultural) value chains in Africa and Asia are hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis[1]. Some examples: labour and supply shortages arise, access to affordable inputs becomes complicated, and restrictions on imports and exports may be imposed, while (also local) transport and storage may get more expensive and even disrupted. The export of produce is also affected by changes in trade patterns with major exporting/importing countries. Eventually the prices of food rise due to these disruptions in the agriculture supply chains, reduced imports and the closure of many informal markets.

For producers, processors and traders this creates unexpected and serious new challenges as business models and revenue models are affected. Insight in, and control of these changes is of crucial importance for value chain actors, as the above mentioned developments will force them to adapt their processes, products and pricing.

F&S helps you to manage these changes and risks

As value chain development is one of the key services of F&S, we are able to systematically work through these value chain changes with you, from a distance (due to the fact that we are currently not able to travel) and with national consultants.

In this blog we explain how we will still work with you in researching, (re-)analysing and improving your value or supply chains.

In our Value Chains Selection support we help our clients in making informed choices of which value chains match best with their mission and strategy and fit best in the changed circumstances. In our ‘distance approach’ we operate as follows:

  • We make intensified use of current (fast changing) secondary data from international online databases. For instance on trade and export statistics, price information of commodities, information on demand and trends, but also data on social and environmental and risks. We also use our own database which contains previously collected data, where useful.
  • We equip our national consultants with tools (surveys, topic lists, guides) to collect additional data (also for verification of database data) ‘on the ground’. Depending on in-country travel restrictions, they collect data using online questionnaires, via phone or online (video) conferencing calls, or during visits. F&S guides and coaches the national consultants in this work from distance.

For Value Chain (Re-)Analysis (which goes deeper than the initial value chain selection), we develop actor-specific questionnaires for use by national consultants, live, by phone or online. We hold online video conferences with key stakeholders to discuss issues. The joint team analysis by international and national consultants is also done online.

We start and finalize the selection/(re-)analysis process with meetings, now hosted online. A kick-off meeting is held with the client to get deeper insight into expectations. In the validation workshop at the end, our analysis is triangulated, and more input is obtained from key stakeholders.

For these meetings, we use the video conferencing tool Webex , supported by tools such as Mural or Padlet, both in plenary and breakout sessions. Breakout sessions and participatory tools (e.g. Mural) help us to assure that we get the opinion of all relevant people, present in the workshop. The clients ànd national consultants play a big role in these workshops, as they know the context and important stakeholders best.

In the subsequent Value Chain Development and Implementation support, we use a toolbox for market systems development solutions online. This includes tools for business model adjustment/ development (eg: design of services and inputs, linking value chains to financial services, developing/reviewing partnerships for market access, etc.) All this is done online. For programme implementation (once programmes have started or have been adjusted), we offer use of the KOBO Collect surveys to track progress. We also provide distance support in data analysis to assess progress and we coach on where and how to further adapt strategies, develop new approaches etc.

Interested? Contact André Vording, andre.vording@fairandsustainable.nl, or Annelien Meerts, annelien.meerts@fairandsustainable.nl.

[1] https://www.ifpri.org/blog/how-covid-19-may-disrupt-food-supply-chains-developing-countries

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