We explore the local value chains beyond existing community frontiers to link
with new people, tools, goods, services, and knowledge
The analysis of value chains is widely used to understand how various actors can effectively involve themselves in economic processes beyond existing local community frontiers. Many collaborative strategies and innovative approaches have been piloted as the need to consider resilience in production-related value chains is increasingly needed to counter variations in socio-cultural, economic and environmental factors. We have adopted a community of practice approach because it enables those who share a concern or a passion for something (e.g. land governance) to learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.
The communal land associations provide an effective model for creating communities of practice that can support innovation, adaptation and resilience among value chain actors. However, we need to understand how the group members in these associations can be supported in order to build social capital as well as contribute to innovation and resilience within their own custom-tailored governance arrangements. It is also important to not only focus on structural relations in place but also consider the socio-cultural interactions and multi-stakeholder engagement beyond existing community frontiers. These linkages are essential in connecting with new people, tools, goods, services, and knowledge for adding value and creating a competitive advantage on the wider market.
We believe that understanding a value chain as comprised of communities of practice across the different sectors, stakeholder groups, and service networks creates more visible opportunities for generating social capital, including business relationships, market interactions, and technical knowledge. These are key factors in awakening local potential towards development of an integrated value-supply system. We continually explore our community of practice approach with a focus on the structural requirements along the production pathway that can facilitate value chain development. In general, we note that identifying and supporting local groups as communities of practice through communal land associations has enabled more coherent and coordinated action in developing common goals. Now more social capital is generated from improved organisational performance, innovation support and resilience promotion.
The community of practice approach offers a new way of looking at how we can use local knowledge and public policy to support resilient value chains as well as create environments that foster participatory approaches to value chain development. It is now envisaged that as these communities of practice continue to register success stories through their value chains, they will help maintain a shared practise and body of knowledge among individuals, and contribute to the formation of a community memory that may evolve but can be passed on to next generations. This way, the communities of practice serve as critical hubs for generating social capital, in turn, demonstrating that such an approach can transform society through improved learning, performance, and innovation.
On that basis, we will support more inclusive and resilience-focused actions that engage communal land associations to access more opportunities for social learning and networking. This is crucial for the associations to adapt and innovate in a context of increasing economic, environmental, and social change.