Value Chains for Enhanced Nutrition (Flagship 1)

photo of man driving motorbike with large steel milk container on back

Moving milk by motorbike in Tanzania. Source: flickr (ILRI/Ben Lukuyu)


Typically, poor households lack access to nutritious foods, such as fruits, vegetables, animal source foods (ASF) (fish, meat, eggs, and dairy products), and indigenous foods of high nutrient content. A diet without diversity leads to inadequate nutritional intake and the risk of essential micronutrient deficiencies. Such diets, therefore, have far-reaching short- and long-term health and nutrition consequences. Economic constraints, lack of information and know-how, and the related lack of demand for nutritious foods are critical factors that limit poor populations’ access to nutritious food.


Food production is just one factor in the consumption and availability of nutrients. Food is stored, distributed, processed, retailed, prepared, and consumed in a range of ways that affect the access, acceptability, and nutritional quality of foods for the consumer. Producing for consumption in the home or for local markets remains important in many places; but today, the more market-oriented nature of agricultural policies means that more farmers are net-food buyers and are thus affected by commercial markets.


Value chains concepts and approaches have been widely used in international development (and in the CGIAR) with the objective of enhancing the livelihoods of food producers. This component will build on the work carried out on the value chains of nutritious (usually high-value) foods.

  • We will develop new approaches and tools to analyze the value chain, using a “nutrition lens” combined with a consumer focus.
  • We will implement research to identify leverage points to enhance the nutritional value of select nutrient-rich foods.
  • We will develop tools to assess and correct information asymmetries regarding nutrition among different value chain actors, including consumers.


The overall objective of this component is to leverage the value chains for select nutrient-rich (high value) foods to increase the demand for, access to, and consumption of affordable nutritious foods among poor rural and peri-urban marginal households, with a particular focus on benefiting vulnerable women, infants, and young children.


Documentation related to Flagship 1: