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Smallholder value chains as complex adaptive systems: a conceptual framework

Author: Orr, A.
Author: Donovan, J.A.
Author: Stoian, D.
Year: 2018
ISSN: 2044-0839
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10883/20609
Abstract: Purpose: Smallholder value chains are dynamic, changing over time in sudden, unpredictable ways as they adapt to shocks. Understanding these dynamics and adaptation is essential for these chains to remain competitive in turbulent markets. Many guides to value chain development, though they focus welcome attention on snapshots of current structure and performance, pay limited attention to the dynamic forces affecting these chains or to adaptation. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach – This paper develops an expanded conceptual framework to understand value chain performance based on the theory of complex adaptive systems. The framework combines seven common properties of complex systems: time, uncertainty, sensitivity to initial conditions, endogenous shocks, sudden change, interacting agents and adaptation. Findings – The authors outline how the framework can be used to ask new research questions and analyze case studies in order to improve our understanding of the development of smallholder value chains and their capacity for adaptation. Research limitations/implications – The framework highlights the need for greater attention to value chain dynamics. Originality/value – The framework offers a new perspective on the dynamics of smallholder value chains
Format: PDF
Language: English
Publisher: Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright: CIMMYT manages Intellectual Assets as International Public Goods. The user is free to download, print, store and share this work. In case you want to translate or create any other derivative work and share or distribute such translation/derivative work, please contact CIMMYT-Knowledge-Center@cgiar.org indicating the work you want to use and the kind of use you intend; CIMMYT will contact you with the suitable license for that purpose.
Type: Article
Place of Publication: United Kingdom
Pages: 14-33
Issue: 1
Volume: 8
DOI: 10.1108/JADEE-03-2017-0031
Keywords: Complex Adaptive Systems
Keywords: Value Chains
Agrovoc: DEVELOPMENT
Agrovoc: SUPPLY CHAINS
Agrovoc: SMALLHOLDERS
Journal: Journal of Agribusiness in Developing and Emerging Economies


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  • Socioeconomics
    Including topics such as farming systems, markets, impact & targeting, innovations, and GIS

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