Photo of John Humphrey, IDS Globalisation Team Research Fellow

John Humphrey - Professorial Fellow



Professor John Humphrey is a sociologist working on global value chains and their impacts on employment and trade in developing countries. Specific interests in global agro-food chains, horticulture exports, food standards, and value chain approaches to linkages between agriculture and nutrition.

Particular interest in how businesses can contribute to the achievement of development goals and in identifying where businesses can best be mobilised for this purpose.

John Humphrey has now retired from IDS.

The project aims to help reduce undernutrition by informing policy and providing tools to make food and agricultural systems more ‘nutrition-sensitive’.

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This project investigated the nature of economic relations between the BRICS and Africa, in order to quantify the development footprint, focusing on various elements such as trade, investment. finance, ODA and migration. The current phase aims to look at development finance and the role of BRICS development banks.

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This research will identify the key factors driving the effectivness of public-private partnerships (PPPs) at bringing sustained increases in income for smallholder farmers at scale and delivering positive development outcomes across rural communities.

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This project aims to identify and support scalable public-private innovative partnerships in developing countries that bridge the gaps between agriculture and nutrition programmes to improve nutrition for the poor and undernourished.

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The objective of the research is to develop capacity and an analytical approach for the analysis of value chains-based initiatives aimed at enhancing access and consumption of nutritious foods by the poor and to use this learning to develop research proposals on leveraging value chains for nutrition.

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The project's objective is to collect and analyse new data on non-tariff measures, particularly on governmental standards and regulations that prescribe the conditions for importing agri-food products into the EU market and into the markets of the main competing players.

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Multi-institutional study of the challenges for European development cooperation in the period up to 2020. IDS research will focus on new actors in international development.

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An examination of whether or not exporters in Sub-Saharan Africa are facing a decline in trade credit.

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This review examined a range of donor initiatives that adopted a value chain aproach as part of their policy package for promoting the growth of small and medium enterprises.

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An examination of the policy responses to new challenges for producers of food products in East Africa and South-East Asia.

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While the debate on industrial clusters and local innovation systems was mainly concerned with local linkages, this work examined global linkages and how they affected local relationships.

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The Development Studies Learning Partnership was created under the BRICS Initiative in 2011, and enables collaborative learning between traditional and emerging actors in development, be they academics, researchers, practitioners or policy-makers.

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The objective of this research is to develop capacity and an analytical approach for the analysis of value chains-based initiatives aimed at enhancing access and consumption of nutritious foods by the poor and to use this learning to develop research proposals on leveraging value chains for nutrition.

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IDS publications on international development research

Assessing the Effectiveness of Agri-Food Value Chain Interventions Aimed at Enhancing Consumption of Nutritious Food by the Poor: Conceptual Framework

LANSA Working Paper Series 2015.04 (2015)

South Asia has experienced rapid economic growth, yet it still has the highest rate of child malnutrition in the world, and half the population is undernourished. This paper lays out a conceptual framework to guide the analysis of value chain-based interventions aimed at enhancing the intake of micronutrient-dense foods in South Asia under the LANSA research programme. More details


Markets for Nutrient-rich Foods: Policy Synthesis from Three Country Studies

IDS Evidence Report 161 (2015)

This Evidence Report examines the potential for and limitations of promoting business and market-based approaches to reducing undernutrition through increasing the availability and accessibility of nutrient-rich foods for the undernourished. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Markets for Nutrition: What Role for Business?

IDS Bulletin 46.3 (2015)

This article examines how this might be achieved, drawing lessons from three intervention types: ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTFs), mandatory fortification and voluntarily fortified products. More details

Non-IDS publication

Markets for Nutrition

LANSA Policy Brief 2 (2015)

Making safe, nutrient-rich foods more accessible for people on low-incomes is one way to reduce micronutrient undernutrition. Efforts to integrate better agriculture and nutrition are focused on this goal, and many initiatives target low-income farm households. More details


Better Nutrition for the Poor through Informal Markets

IDS Policy Briefing 89 (2015)

In the fight against undernutrition, policymakers are seeking to use markets to increase access to nutrient-rich foods. Yet ensuring food reaches those most affected by undernutrition requires shaping the markets and businesses from which they source food. More details

Thematic Expertise:
Agriculture; Agri-food Business and Agricultural Trade; BRICS and Rising Powers; Financial Crisis; Innovation and Value Chains; Trade and Growth; Private-sector Governance; Industry; Nutrition.

Related Programmes and Centres:
Business and Development Centre; Reducing Hunger and Undernutrition; Rising Powers in International Development.

Geographic Expertise:
East Asia (excluding Japan and South Korea); Sub Saharan Africa; Brazil; China; Kenya.