Sierra Leone in the Cocoa Global Value Chain

The report uses the global value chain (GVC) framework to examine Sierra Leone’s position in the global industry to identify upgrading opportunities for the local industry. Recent trends in the global market have shown a rise in consumer preference for dark chocolate and ‘bean-to-bar’ products. Upgrading opportunities in these markets are identified for the country.

Analysis of Ghana’s Non-Traditional Agricultural Exports

Duke GVCC collaborated with the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Monitoring and Analyzing Food and Agricultural Policies (MAFAP) program and the International Trade Center (ITC) on this project that assessed competitive growth opportunities for selected non-traditional export products from Ghana. The product selection and research strategy followed a three-stage process that integrated quantitative and qualitative analytical approaches: i) comparative advantage and competitiveness analyses of Ghana’s agri-food exports; ii) ranking of comparative advantage of agri-food products; iii) product selection and GVC analysis of the mango sector, as the leading export product, for the identification of policy interventions and commercial alliances for action between value chain operators as well as support institutions.

The research identified productive capability gaps and areas where policy interventions and private alliances were essential to promote competitive growth of non-traditional exports from Ghana. Consensus on the intervention areas was facilitated through presentations of interim and final findings and recommendations in Accra, Ghana.

Belize in the Offshore Services Global Value Chain

Belize in the Shrimp Global Value Chain

Shrimp is the second-leading seafood species as measured by world trade, trailing only salmon. There has been a strong increase in recent production, with global output increasing from 6.5 million MT in 2006 to 8.3 million MT in 2015, a jump of nearly 30%. The world’s leading shrimp producers traditionally have been in Southeast Asia; however, Early Mortality Syndrome has hurt stocks in Thailand and other locations. Belize is one such country. Aquaculture has traditionally been an important generator of revenue and foreign exchange, but a recent outbreak of EMS has decimated production and threatened the survival of multiple smaller and medium-sized businesses. This report uses the GVC framework to analyze Belize’s position in the shrimp industry and identify strategies for improving the competitiveness of domestic businesses.

Saint Lucia in the Banana Global Value Chain

Bananas represent an important source of economic revenue and nutrition for millions around the globe. However, resent shifts in the organizational model of banana trade and the liberalization of key import markets is changing the industry. These changes are placing increasing pressure on many exporters. Saint Lucia previously enjoyed a close relationship with the United Kingdom market, but finds its position slipping due to global market changes and internal issues related to productivity and cost of production. This report uses the global value chain framework to map Saint Lucia’s current participation in the banana industry and identify ways to increase SMEs participation in the chain.

Belize in the Cocoa Global Value Chain

Cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate, is a major source of income for many farmers. Producers of high value cocoa beans are able to capture higher prices on the international market and overcome economies of scale challenges by focusing on high-value markets. Belize has historically been successful in the cocoa industry and has a long history of cultivation, dating back to Mayan civilization. However, supply disruptions and organizational challenges threaten future growth. This report uses the global value chain framework to map Belize’s current participation in the cocoa industry and identify ways to increase SMEs participation in the industry.

Jamaica in the Arabica Coffee Global Value Chain

Specialty coffee represents a high value and growing niche market based almost exclusively on one type of coffee bean, Arabica coffee. Producers of high value coffee are able to capture higher prices on the international market and overcome economies of scale by focusing on high-value markets. Jamaica has historically been successful in the specialty coffee market, consistently earning the highest unit price globally. However, supply disruptions and the rise of new competitors threaten its position. This report uses the global value chain framework to map Jamaica’s current participation in the Arabica coffee industry and identify ways to increase SMEs participation in the industry.

Barbados in the Rum Global Value Chain

The rise in demand for premium products in the alcoholic spirits industry is creating new opportunities for producing nations to increase their participation in the global market. Barbados, the birthplace of rum, is currently poised to capitalize on this shift towards premium and authentic spirits. However, it must first address several issues in the industry, including the sourcing of necessary inputs and the development of a national brand. This report examines the potential for Barbados to increase its participation in the industry using the global value chain framework.

The Wheat Value Chain in Kazakhstan

Food and Agriculture

We live in a volatile global economy. This 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?

The Duke GVC Center consistently answers these and other related questions through its research.


Reports: 39
Publications: 19
Geographies covered: 28 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)


The Duke GVC Center has conducted research in the food and agriculture industry for the following clients: 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. The following is just a snapshot of the ways Duke CGGC has generated impact for these clients.

Basic Principles and Guidelines for Impactful and Sustainable Inclusive Business Interventions in High-Value Agro-Food Value Chains

Client: 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: The Duke GVC Center’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.