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The concept of Filière or value chain: An analytical framework for development policies and strategies

Lançon F., Temple L., Biénabe E.. 2017. In : Biénabe Estelle (ed.), Rival Alain (ed.), Loeillet Denis (ed.). Sustainable development and tropical agri-chains. Dordrecht : Springer, p. 17-28.

DOI: 10.1007/978-94-024-1016-7_2

This chapter traces the genealogy of the concepts of value chain, supply chain, and their French equivalent filière, and of the analyses based on this concept. It aims at an improved understanding of their scope and limitations in view of the challenges confronting sustainable development. Initially conceived to help formulate and evaluate industrial policies in the North, and subsequently development policies in the South, the concept of filière encompasses a set of agents within an economic system with structural relationships that link the supply and demand of intermediate and final goods, and that have the power to influence and structure the economy concerned. The filière was thus defined as a set of actors providing specific technical and economic functions in the process of producing and processing a good, from raw material to final product. This concept can be used to analyze the dynamics of integrating agriculture in agrifood and agro-industrial systems, measure the creation and distribution of wealth in these systems, and to undertake activities to support the development of technical and organizational innovations. In order to take the growing role of firms in the globalization of trade into account, a different approach, in terms of global value chains, conceptualizes relationships between actors by focusing on forms of governance and modalities of coordination through power relations and definition of standards. These two conceptual frameworks emphasize different aspects: structuring of productive systems in one, actor strategies in the other. However, they both participate in and embrace a logic of specialization and economic efficiency, in which issues of environmental and social sustainability often find little space. Life cycle assessment provides tools and methods to compensate for this lacuna, especially at the environmental level. However, an integrated analytical framework that takes the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development into account in a complementary manner remains to be developed.

Mots-clés : développement durable; terminologie; analyse de système; analyse économique; secteur agricole; secteur agroindustriel; système économique; système de valeurs; mondialisation; intégration; agriculture; innovation; gouvernance; durabilité; impact sur l'environnement; environnement socioéconomique; analyse du cycle de vie; entrepreneur; concurrence économique; zone rurale; pays en développement; pays développé; système de production; filière; acteur économique; stratégie

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