Financial Value Chain Analysis

06/08/2020 0 By indiafreenotes

Value chain analysis is a process for identifying opportunities for and constraints to increased competitiveness of a sector. Value chain finance analysis prioritizes the financial needs within the context of specific upgrades of a value chain if it is to take advantage of end-market opportunities. This is a critical element of determining where expansion of financial services is tied to the growth and competitiveness of a value chain. A value-chain finance analysis looks not only at demand, but also the incentive structures and capacities of actors to deliver or facilitate financial access within the value chain. Additionally, constraints within the enabling environment and financial sector as a whole that may impact the availability of financing should be examined during the information-gathering stage. Importantly, as financial service delivery is rarely specific to one value chain, the value chain finance analysis should ideally identify key financial bottlenecks that affect the growth of multiple value chains.

Value chain analysis provides information on the upgrading investments needed to take advantage of identified end-market opportunities and improve competitiveness. Building on this, it gathers information on financing constraints to market opportunities from industry stakeholders, firms and financial institutions. Interviews are conducted with financial service providers in and outside the value chain to reveal the degree to which financing is already available. If finance gaps exist, the analysis probes finance providers’ perspectives on why the gaps exist. Interviews include formal financial institutions, (microfinance institutions, banks) as well as input suppliers, brokers and dealers that may provide working capital loans or input supplies on credit to their clients.

Once information is obtained on the availability of and/or gaps in financing, a schematic can be developed showing product and financial flows. This schematic helps identify overall finance gaps that can constrain the prioritized improvements in value chain performance.

Financing gaps are further analyzed to determine why they exist. In general, financing is absent because potential cost or risk is seen to outweigh the potential benefit. Financing may be absent because the finance provider or potential borrower cannot accurately determine the benefits of increased investment, or because the lender or borrower correctly assesses the risk of lending and investing as too high. The analysis of financing gaps can inform donors about what type of intervention may be needed, and whether the interventions should be on the financial side, the enterprise side, or both. A challenge for donors and governments is identifying ways to support a value chain without undermining or crowding out private-sector solutions. Interventions should be geared toward facilitating private-sector solutions, addressing market failures and ensuring a functioning enabling environment.


There are multiple benefits which flow from successful value chain financing arrangements. Through its ability to reduce risk and enhance incentives, value chain finance can enable the sustainable delivery of services, for example ensuring that farmers, brokers and wholesalers have continuous access to a line of products they need that are delivered in a timely manner and meet certain specifications. These arrangements can also improve working relationships (e.g., between buyers and suppliers) and facilitate intra-chain information that lowers the actual or perceived risks of lending. A successful arrangement can often provide a demonstration effect which may prompt larger-scale players and formal financial actors to enter into a new market once the investment opportunities are realized.

Example: In Ethiopia, financial institutions were unwilling to work with agricultural cooperatives until a bank tapped a Development Credit Authority mechanism which shared the risk of loans to cooperatives that provided advances against products deposited by their members. After a successful collaboration, the bank obtained a second guarantee, but did not use it, going on to lend to agricultural cooperatives using their own funds. The bank considered the partnership to be successful on its own merits and continued their on-lending to cooperatives for subsequent on-lending to its smallholder members.


One challenge for value chain finance actors is the provision of longer-term loans for capital investments. Most value chain actors supply short-term working capital to clients that require limited monitoring, collateral or paperwork. As with formal financial institutions, value chain actors often struggle with weighing the risks and rewards of offering investment loans. Value chain actors who directly provide financing are also faced with challenges of working in a sector they know little about. There may be costs associated with becoming involved in the lending process; they assume risks for repayment if a guaranteed borrower does not fulfill the repayment obligation; and they risk diverting time and resources away from other activities that might provide a greater return and in which they have more skills and experience. Furthermore, value chain finance takes place within a market system and is based on commercial transactions between value chain actors. The viability of many value chain finance mechanisms can be limited by low or unreliable end-market demand for a product, mistrust among actors, and unsupportive regulatory and policy environment. Contract enforcement and side-selling are common issues that undermine many buyer-based finance mechanisms. Additionally, production and price risks can be major deterrents to finance if they are not provisioned for with other risk mechanisms.

Implications for Design and Implementation

Value chain financing offers a variety of opportunities for creative program design, including opportunities for interventions that strengthen linkages between producers and buyers; encouraging banks to lend to value chain actors; organizing smallholder producer associations to enable production of high value crops; and outreach to financial institutions to design warehouse receipts loan products.

A challenge for donors and governments is to determine ways to support a value chain without undermining private-sector solutions. Interventions should be geared toward facilitating private-sector solutions, addressing market failures and ensuring a functioning enabling environment – not becoming a player within the value chain itself. Below are some general implications for program designers interested in expanding financial services to value chain actors.

  • Design sustainable value chain finance interventions.
  • Facilitate information flow from the value chain to financial markets.
  • Design interventions with ‘integrated components’ that focus on increasing access to finance.
  • Identify sources of risk reduction and new incentives.
  • Provide training and technical assistance to value chain connector firms.
  • Introduce and link value chain firms with financial institutions.
  • Identify ways to improve access to longer-term agricultural finance.
  • Recognize the limits as well as the benefits of financing by value chain actors.
  • Look for solutions for gender-based constraints to finance.