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YALI Network – Finding Opportunities Along the Agricultural Value Chain

October 6, 2019


[TEXT: Young African Leaders Initiative, Online Training Series] My name is Rahama Wright, and I am the founder and chief executive
officer of Shea Yeleen Health and Beauty,
[TEXT: Rahama Wright, Founder and CEO, Shea Yeleen Health and Beauty] a social impact company that creates body care products ethically
sourcing shea butter from women-led cooperatives in Northern Ghana. We distribute these products via retail channels and e-commerce. Our direct ties to women shea butter producers ensures that they are
paid living wages within our value chain. Welcome to Agripreneurship: A Path to the Future.
[TEXT: Agripreneurship: A Path to the Future] [TEXT: Finding Opportunities
Along the Agricultural Value Chain] This lesson is “Finding
Opportunities Along the Agricultural Value Chain.” [TEXT: Learning Objectives, Finding Opportunities
Along the Agricultural Value Chain] In this lesson, we will take an
in-depth look at each stage of the agricultural value chain,
[TEXT: Understanding the value chain.] we will outline opportunities for professionals within the value
chain,
[TEXT: Outlining the opportunities for professionals within the value chain.] and we will discuss new ways technology is contributing to the
agricultural value chain.
[TEXT: Identifying opportunities for new technologies.] [TEXT: What is the value chain?]
What is the value chain? Let’s start with a definition. [TEXT: A value chain is
the full range of activities that businesses
employ] A value chain is the full range of activities that businesses employ [TEXT: to bring a product or service to market.] to bring a product
or service to market. For example, with my business, I work with women at the beginning
of the value chain to transform shea seeds to shea butter. It starts with harvesting the fruit, extracting the nuts,
removing the seeds, and then a traditional handmade process that the women use to
extract the oil from the seeds. Turning seeds to shea butter allows us to link products to foreign
markets, and it’s an example of adding value that provides higher income for
the women. In short, a value chain is a useful way to understand producing,
buying and selling. Every product has a unique value chain, and within the African
agriculture sector, opportunities exist to improve and add more value for increased benefit to all stakeholders. [TEXT: What are the points along the agricultural value chain?] What
are the points along the agriculture value chain? If we consider a value chain like a spectrum, on one end are
producers and the opposite are consumers. Between producers and consumers are a variety of intermediaries that
can enhance and improve the value chain. These intermediaries can include suppliers, brokers, transporters,
wholesalers, manufacturers, packagers, sellers, policymakers and
researchers. Understanding the stakeholders within your value chain is critical
to knowing how to best leverage each one or improve upon the value
chain. In a successful value chain, each stakeholder at each stage works to
support others within the value chain, and at each point there are even more ways to create
entrepreneurship, whether you’re an accountant helping to manage the books, a marketer
creating exciting ways to reach customers, a package designer that helps a product appeal to the retailers and
customers, or a data analyst tracking email and social media activity to
identify trends to help increase product sales. There are a myriad of ways along the value chain that can help
create additional value. [TEXT: All stakeholders should commit to satisfying
the needs of the customer.] But no matter the point
in the chain, all stakeholders should commit to satisfying the needs of the customer. [TEXT: What are the opportunities for skilled professionals in the
agricultural value chain?] What are the opportunities for skilled
professionals in the agricultural value chain? The development of value-added products that connect to a market
creates opportunities for a variety of individuals within a value
chain. Completing a value chain analysis is a great method to learn the
specific opportunities that you can leverage along your specific value chain. Here are examples of questions you should consider in your analysis: Who are the main actors within the value chain? What are their strengths and their weaknesses within the value
chain? Where is the majority of money being made in the value chain? Who are the beneficiaries? Researching these questions can help lay the framework for you to
identify the right opportunity to improve the value chain. When I did my value chain analysis for shea butter, I quickly
learned that the majority of women within the sector were supplying
seeds to brokers for very little income. Since I knew that a development of a value-added product like shea
butter could garner more income for the women, I built this goal into my business model. This business model also addresses the quality issues facing many
shea butter producers and the marketing and branding required to sell in high-end retail
markets. Common challenges in agriculture value chains include access to
research and data, product quality, processing and manufacturing capabilities, product branding and
marketing, transport, access to strong commercial partnerships, and
identifying customers within a specific market. Addressing all or even some of these value chain challenges is the
key for strengthening the value chain and presents opportunities for
success. [TEXT: What opportunities exist for new technologies in the value
chain?] What opportunities exist for new technologies in the value
chain? Within the African agricultural value chain there is opportunity to
increase the development of value-added goods. This requires access to equipment and technologies that can aid in
product development and delivery. Some examples of technologies that can enhance the value chain
include solar dryers, temperature monitoring delivery systems in
cold chains, financial technology or fintech for mobile payments, money
transfers, loans, fundraising, and asset management, and blockchain
for transparency. Increasing the availability of technologies — both big and small —
has the opportunity to enhance value chains, leading to higher productivity and more efficient operations,
increased worker safety, and reduced environmental impact that contributes to a more
sustainable enterprise. There are many points along the agricultural value chain for young
professionals to make a lasting impact and transform their
communities. Finding those entrepreneurial opportunities requires a commitment
and passion to operate ethically with your partners and customers, knowledge of the chosen industry, and a willingness to innovate and
challenge established norms. [TEXT: Test your knowledge, yali,state.gov, YALINetwork] After
you’ve completed
all the lessons in this course at YALI.state.gov, you can test your knowledge and earn a YALI Network
certificate.
[TEXT: Produced by the U.S. Department of State]

2 Comments

  • Reply Redempter Mutinda March 2, 2019 at 10:05 am

    Than you Rahama for the insightful lesson

  • Reply Axelle Nadège March 18, 2019 at 7:36 pm

    Agripreneurship : A path to the future👌Thanks a lot Rahama👍

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