Call for Papers: Value Chain Development in Agriculture

Call for papers – Special edition
Value chain development in agriculture: improved support for smallholders and SMEs
Deadline for abstract submission: May 13, 2016
Deadline for article submission: Jul 29, 2016
Value chain development (VCD) features prominently in development programming aimed at stimulating poverty reduction, economic growth, increasing the competitiveness and resilience of the rural sector. The approach challenges governments, private sector and civil society to pay special attention to individual actors, such as smallholders or cooperatives, but also to look at value chains as complex systems. There is also increasing interest in how to measure improvements in value chain performance and how such gains can contribute towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). VCD initiatives typically focus on one or more of the following three areas: 1) policy environment (government rules and regulations, private sustainability standards), 2) links between value chain actors (bottlenecks, opportunities for win-win relationships), and 3) service environment (access to and quality of technical, business and financial services). Despite the proliferation of VCD over recent years, with multi-billion dollar investments, surprisingly little is known about the methods and tools used to support VCD work, whether VCD has lived up to its expectations, what trade-offs or undesired effects have been induced, and which combinations of VCD elements, under what conditions have a higher likelihood to deliver on poverty and overall development goals.
This special edition of Enterprise Development & Microfinance (EDM) will take stock of experiences in the design, capacity building methods, implementation and assessment of VCD interventions. We invite researchers and development practitioners to share their unique insights and to document both positive and negative experiences that stimulate reflection and learning among those concerned with the poverty and development goals of VCD. This is an excellent opportunity for highlighting your work, as special issues usually lead to comparably higher citations. EDM has a global reach with strong connections to international and national organizations working in microfinance, private sector and rural development. Work may present both qualitative and quantitative data and analysis.
Topics of particular interest for this issue include:
  • Selection methods to target specific value chains for target farming communities
  • Success factors for achieving impact at scale (scaling models)
  • Differentiated approaches to take advantage of opportunities in local, regional, national and international markets
  • Tool kits designed to support VDC upgrading and their effectiveness in supporting vulnerable to well endowed farmers
  • Inclusiveness (gender, youth, poor, landless) in value chains
  • Governance structures and management models for economically viable and socially inclusive rural enterprises
  • Trade-offs between specialization induced through VCD and diversification of rural livelihood strategies
  • Institutional innovations for managing risks and sharing benefits
  • Options for improved coverage and impact of technical, business and financial services for smallholders and SMEs
  • Public policies enabling VCD and fruitful interactions with the private sector (public-private partnerships)
  • Innovation in business models and investment schemes (e.g. green bonds, impact investments), and their implications for smallholders, SMEs and companies
  • Metrics used to assess the performance of the VCD interventions
  • Chain wide digital data management systems to register partners, and monitor transactions
Please send a 300-500 word abstract of your planned contributions to the issue editors (below) by May 13, 2016. Please note that all submissions will go through peer review and we cannot guarantee that papers by authors invited to submit an article will be published.
Articles should be original contributions, up to 6000 words in length, formatted to house style and not under consideration elsewhere. Full instructions for authors, including a house style guide can be found online at All articles should be submitted via EDM online submission and peer review system at
The special edition will be published in the December 2016 issue of EDM.
Special edition editors
Jason Donovan (ICRAF,
Dietmar Stoian (Bioversity International,
Shaun Ferris (Catholic Relief Services,
Enterprise Development & Microfinance (EDM) is an international peer reviewed journal in the field of development that provides a forum for those involved in enterprise development and microfinance programmes in developing countries; whether as practitioners or those conducting research in these fields.