Responding to health risks along the value chain

A risk-based approach is essential to understanding how exposure to health hazards varies as agriculture products move and are handled and processed throughout the value chain from farm to table—and an essential step toward improving the livelihoods of the world’s poorest. Such an approach requires: (a) an understanding of the opportunities and constraints to reducing risks as products move along the value chain; (b) partnerships between stakeholders (producers, value-chain actors, consumers, agriculture and health ministries, and private industry); and (c) the support of the national and international community.

Chapter two outlines the importance of considering health risks within the context of the commodity systems and value/supply chains, and describes the health risks that typically exist along any productive agrifood chain. Chapter three identifies the primary economic and institutional factors driving the demand for greater food safety standards and reducing health risks along value chains. Chapter four identifies the impacts on poor producers, consumers, and others of these health risks, as well as the mechanisms to mitigate these risks, such as the development of food safety standards. Chapter five reviews a modified risk analysis research approach developed by IFPRI to identify cost-effective ways to reduce food safety risks as agricultural products move along the value chains, both for value-chain actors and for consumers. Examples come from a series of studies of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana, and Indonesia and from an ongoing program analyzing aflatoxin contamination of maize and groundnuts in Mali and Kenya. Finally, chapter six describes current and emerging opportunities for reducing human health risks along the value chain, by addressing problems of market failures, asymmetry of information, government and policy failures, and the need for low-cost effective technologies to mitigate health risks.

Author: 
Chenevix Trench, Pippa
Narrod, Clare
Roy, Devesh
Tiongco, Marites
Published date: 
2011
Publisher: 
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
Series number: 
5
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