Promoting value chains of neglected and underutilized species for pro-poor growth and biodiversity conservation: guidelines and good practices

Promoting value chains of neglected and underutilized species for pro-poor growth and biodiversity conservation: guidelines and good practices

Developing value chains for neglected and underutilised species

Use of neglected and underutilised species (NUS) can play an important role in improving food security, conserving biodiversity and generating income and employment. Value chain development (VCD) can be a useful tool for realising these prospects, by linking supply capacities to market opportunities. This publication, commissioned by the Global Facilitation Unit for Underutilized Species (GFU), presents guidelines and good practices for value chain development of neglected and underutilised species. 

Specifically, the report:

  • provides recommendations on how to gear VCD of NUS to pro-poor growth
  • elaborates on challenges and opportunities in marketing of NUS
  • highlights success factors enhancing the utilisation of the potential of NUS
  • indicates factors hampering VCD of NUS and thus putting the objectives, the promotion of biodiversity and pro-poor growth at risk.

The guidelines draw upon lessons learnt and good practices described in eight case studies implemented by the GFU and its partners, other literature on NUS and VCD, and the experience of the author in horticultural marketing and VCD. The case studies assess approaches and results of VCD for various NUS in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America.

The case studies highlight the narrow the gap between success (e.g. income generation, biodiversity conservation) and failure (e.g. market distortion, crowding-out of species), and hence the importance of sound and professional VCD facilitation. While providing detailed guidelines, the author emphasises that NUS-VCD is not about just solving problems, but about choosing the right approaches able to unlock the potential of NUS, which remains still largely untapped.

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