Value chains have been accepted as an effective way of focusing on measures to improve the scale and impact of private sector investments, which include the investments made by smallholder farmers themselves as well as those made by larger-scale domestic or foreign agribusiness investors. Development partners have adopted value chain approaches when designing interventions and project implementation to coordinate their support to specific sectors and commodities. Particularly due to the emphasis on targeted value chains by the US Government’s Feed the Future Initiative, a better understanding of the linkages being made (or missed) along a value chain will be essential to realizing the returns that they promise.
This report is a summary of observations made in four country studies: Mali, Ghana, Kenya and Ethiopia. The findings suggest that African governments have significant opportunities to take actions that would directly stimulate private investments in agriculture. The private investors interviewed believed that, with greater government support in creating an enabling environment and less direct government intervention in value chains, critical barriers to their businesses would be reduced or eliminated. Observations specific to the four countries and four agricultural commodity value chains are summarized below and call for practical reforms that promote the growth of successful agribusinesses and more productive farming in Africa.