Innovative beef value chain development schemes in southern Africa

Published on 7 September 2013

Research Areas




Start Date: 1 February 2013 | End Date: 31 May 2015


This project engages the private sector and supports market functions, as well as raising the private sector’s capacity to deliver poverty-reducing beef value chain interventions.

The proposed innovations in rural financial services will promote smallholders’ emergence from subsistence to the cash economy. The project’s income diversification and risk reduction roles promote food and income security.

The project also has a strong knowledge management component, both in its own right and in terms of support to existing International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)-funded projects and other pro-poor livestock projects in southern Africa.

Target group

The target group is composed of (a) smallholders facing grazing constraints in dry or remote locations; (b) smallholders with access to fodder/feed but no capital for livestock purchase in irrigated areas; and (c) rural traders and those developing small enterprises for rural economic development.


The overall goal of the project is to improve and make sustainable smallholder livelihoods from cattle production and marketing. The project will add value to past and ongoing investments in physical infrastructure and institutions by helping to improve the enabling environment and encouraging private-sector investment and commercial involvement.


The objectives of the project are to:

  • Provide smallholders with a viable cattle value addition mechanism that is coordinated with market requirements;
  • Design and demonstrate effective financial instruments and suitable products for enabling smallholder value addition in cattle systems; and
  • Generate and disseminate knowledge, and encourage its uptake, throughout the southern African region.


  • New organizational arrangements, equipment and consensus on the design of new transaction arrangements;
  • New contract and transaction forms designed, a loan product developed and a trial conducted using action research; and
  • Knowledge disseminated


  • Capacity- and institution-building: Organizational support to traders and producers, promotion of the project, engagement of value chain participants and certification of traders.
  • A proof-of-concept of a value chain finance product: Value chain analysis and participatory activity design, formulation of effective financial instruments and supporting contracts, introduction of a new product and testing, and action research.
  • A scaling-up phase focused on communication and knowledge management: Outcome mapping, information and experience exchange with projects in neighbouring countries, and a regional conference.


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