Although agricultural value chain resilience is a crucial component to food security and sustainable food systems in developing countries, it has received little attention. This paper synthesizes knowledge from the social-ecological systems (SES), supply chain management, and value chain development literature to make three contributions to this research gap. First, we conceptualize agricultural value chain resilience and relate it to overall food system resilience. Second, we identify seven principles that are hypothesized to contribute to SES resilience, relate them to supply chain management theory, and discuss their application in agricultural value chains. A key insight is that the appropriateness of these principles are important to assess on a case-by-case basis, and depend in part on trade-offs between resilience and other dimensions of value chain performance. Third, we integrate two common tools, the Resilience Alliance’s assessment framework and value chain analysis techniques, to outline an adaptable participatory approach for assessing the resilience of agricultural value chains in developing countries. The objectives of the approach are to cultivate a chain-wide awareness for past and potential disturbances that could affect food security and other essential services provided by the value chain, and to identify upgrades that can build resilience against these key disturbances.
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