Food & Agriculture


We live in a volatile global economy, which impacts the food and agriculture industry in profound ways. Stakeholders are grappling with questions such as:

1. In the midst of change, where are opportunities that can be leveraged across the value chain?

2. How can players within the industry partner together to benefit the poor, contributing to inclusive and sustainable development?

3. How do food and trade affect healthy diets?

Duke CGGC consistently addresses these types of questions through its research.


  • Reports produced: 24
  • Presentations and publications: 10 and 15
  • Geographies covered: 20 countries throughout Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East and North America
  • Topic areas: competitiveness, workforce development, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), upgrading, inclusive development and public-private partnerships (PPPs)
  • Clients: Duke CGGC has conducted research in the food and agriculture industry for: The World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, Environmental Defense Fund, Oxfam, OECD, US Department of Defense-Minerva Initiative, Walton Foundation, The World Health Organization, USAID/ACDI-VOCA and RTI International.

    Duke CGGC Food & Agriculture Reports

    Pro-Poor Development and Power Asymmetries in Global Value Chains

    imageThis report presents the asymmetric power relations in global value chains. It examines the limits of private governance and its development implications for local firms and producers in developing countries by drawing on the cases of apparel, cocoa-chocolate, and sugar-‘soft drink’ global value chains.
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    Public-Private Partnerships in Global Value Chains: Can They Actually Benefit the Poor?

    imageClient: United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

    Challenge: The past 15 years has seen a proliferation of PPPs between the private sector and the international development community, yet little is known about their impact on developing countries.

    Approach & Outcome: The Duke CGGC research report examined the main concerns over the potential of PPPs to bring about inclusive development: alignment of business and pro-poor development interests; actors and institutions that determine how the system works; and achievable outcomes. The report was based on secondary sources, including partner progress reports, post-project evaluation reports, studies from other development agencies and the global value chain (GVC) literature to analyze partnership outcomes. It also included several phone interviews with development experts.
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    Burundi in the Coffee Global Value Chain: Skills for Private Sector Development

    imageClient: World Bank

    Challenge: The coffee sector is crucial to the Burundian economy for a number of reasons. Policy makers, donors and industry actors wanted to identify potential opportunities to improve labor productivity and create jobs for the large number of unemployed youth in the country.

    Approach & Outcome: Using the GVC framework, Duke CGGC researched how the global coffee industry is changing and assessed Burundi’s current position in the GVC. The research team highlighted opportunities for Burundi to strengthen its positioning.
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    Burundi in the Agribusiness Global Value Chain: Skills for Private Sector Development

    imageThe Skills for Private Sector Development Project, commissioned by the Education Division of the World Bank, employed the GVC framework to identify specific workforce development strategies to foster upgrading within three industries crucial to Burundi's economic development: agribusiness, coffee and energy. Upgrading in these value chains is dependent on developing new capabilities and generally requires a substantially different set of workers with different skill sets. Knowing the requirements at each stage can help policy makers to prepare the workforce for the needs of future upgrading strategies. Agriculture is the central pillar of Burundi’s economy, accounting for more than one third of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employing virtually the entire rural workforce. With good geographic conditions and a suitable climate to production, the country has the potential to be a strong participant in the regional agricultural market. Yet, after years of conflict, the country faces important productivity, infrastructure and institutional challenges that continue to undermine the development of a market-oriented sector, and agriculture remains a primarily subsistence activity, dominated by smallholders with poor knowledge of modern agricultural practices and weak connections to the formal economy. All these constraints have limited the possibility of the country to participate in the global agribusiness value chain. However, Burundi is experiencing slowly rising incomes, growing domestic demand for foodstuffs and a need to formalize the country’s economy, placing pressure on the agricultural sector to modernize and organize to create productive, off-farm employment opportunities, generate revenues and, importantly for the short-term, contribute to the country’s food security.
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    The Tobacco Global Value Chain in Low Income Countries

    This report uses global value chains (GVC) analysis to understand how the changing dynamics of the global tobacco industry are affecting producers in low-income countries that are heavily reliant on the tobacco industry. Increased global adoption of tobacco control measures has raised concerns about whether decreases in demand as a result of tobacco control policies negatively impact small producers and increase poverty. These concerns have led to support for crop substitution strategies, although successful implementation has varied. This report offers new perspectives and avenues for investigating the viability of economic development pathways out of tobacco that are remunerative and sustainable for smallholders.
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    Wheat Value Chains and Food Security in the Middle East and North Africa Region

    imageThis report focuses on the wheat global value chain in the energy-exporting countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, with particular emphasis on Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the UAE. It is funded by a grant to Duke from the US Department of Defense's MINERVA Initiative.
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    Realizing the Potential of African Agriculture: Innovations and Market Access for Smallholders Farmers

    imageAgriculture increasingly occurs in a context where private entrepreneurs coordinate extensive value chains linking producers to consumers, sometimes across multiple countries. These dynamics drive agricultural development and innovation far more than before across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). More providers of knowledge are on the scene, particularly from the private sector and civil society, and they interact in new ways to generate ideas or develop responses to dynamics in agro-food value chains. A growing number of entrepreneurial smallholders are organizing to enter these value chains, but others struggle with the economic marginalization as innovative solutions do not reach them due to missing links in the value chains.
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    Assessment of Five High-Value Agriculture Inclusive Business Projects Sponsored by the Inter- American Development Bank in Latin America

    imageThis paper is a summary of five IDB-MIF projects that aimed to include small- and medium-sized producers in high-value agriculture value chains. The objective of this paper is to provide a set of lessons learned to design and implement efficient, effective and sustainable projects in the future.
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    Basic Principles and Guidelines for Impactful and Sustainable Inclusive Business Interventions in High-Value Agro-Food Value Chains

    imageClient: Inter-American Development Bank-Multilateral Investment Fund (IDB-MIF)

    Challenge: IDB-MIF wanted to capture the lessons from its experience in inclusive business and value chain development interventions in high-value agricultural markets. They sought to improve these interventions based on good practices and facilitate systematic institutionalization of this knowledge.

    Approach & Outcome: Duke CGGC’s report summarized key lessons of IDB-MIF's projects in seven countries throughout Latin America. The team proposed a model to overcome constraints and provided a step-by-step guide to deploy it in high-value agriculture markets. The report was based on extensive primary and secondary research of IDB-MIF projects, interventions by development agencies and literature on SME inclusion in value chains. Over 50 interviews were conducted with country specialists, implementing agencies, industry experts, associations and producers.
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    The Competitiveness of Small Organic Cocoa Producers of the National Confederation of Dominican Cocoa Producers (CONACADO)

    imageSmall organic cocoa producers in the Dominican Republic improve their competitiveness by increasing cultivation productivity.

    Caso: Competitividad de Pequeños Productores de Cacao Orgánico de la Confederación Nacional de Cacaocultores Dominicanos (Conacado)

    Pequeños productores de cacao orgánico en República Dominicana mejoraron su competitividad mediante el incremento de la productividad de las plantaciones.
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    Case: Supporting the Competitiveness of Central American Coffee

    imageAfter the coffee crisis at the turn of the century, a selected group of small and medium coffee producers in five Central American countries received technical assistance to produce higher value specialty coffee and help to establish market linkages with global buyers.

    Caso: Apoyando la Competitividad del Café Centroamericano

    Después de la crisis del café ocurrida a principios de siglo, un grupo selecto de pequeños y medianos productores de café de 5 países de Centroamérica recibió asistencia técnica para producir café de especialidad y contactos con compradores globales.
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    Case: Development of Micro and Small Rural Apicultural Producers in Nicaragua & Honduras

    imageMicro- and small honey producers were helped to enter into the domestic (Honduras) and global (Nicaragua) value chains.

    Caso: Desarrollo de Micro y Pequeños Productores Apícolas en Nicaragua y Honduras

    Micro y pequeños productores de miel fueron apoyados para insertarse en la cadena local de la miel (Honduras) y en la cadena global de la miel (Nicaragua).
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    Case: Conversion to Organic Cacao Cultivation in Peru

    imageSmall producers, members of a large, established coffee and cocoa cooperative in Tingo María, Perú, converted to certified organic production of cocoa.

    Caso: Conversión hacia un Cultivo Orgánico de Cacao en Perú

    Pequeños productores de cacao y café, miembros de la Cooperativa Industrial Naranjillo (COOPAIN), una cooperativa grande y consolidada en Tingo María, Perú, se han convertido en productores de café orgánico certificado.
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    Case: Strengthening the Competitiveness of Organic Producers in Andean Microwatersheds

    imageSmall fruit and vegetables producers in Huánuco, Peru were supported to form a consortium to sell their organic produce in supermarkets in Lima.

    Caso: Fortaleciendo la Competitividad de Productores Orgánicos en Microcuencas Andinas

    Pequeños productores de frutas y verduras en Huánuco, Perú fueron apoyados para formar un consorcio con el fin de vender su producción orgánica en los supermercados de Lima.
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    Case: Strengthening the Competitiveness of the Stevia Value Chain in Paraguay

    imageSmall stevia producers in Paraguay were helped to improve the production and quality of stevia to raise incomes and expand the supply of stevia.

    Caso: Fortaleciendo la Competitividad en la Cadena de Valor de Stevia en Paraguay

    Pequeños productores de stevia recibieron ayuda para mejorar la producción y calidad de la stevia en Paraguay con el fin de expandir la oferta del producto en mercados internacionales y aumentar sus ingresos.
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