18.104.22.168. Phase 1 Tools: Channels
The first step in understanding channels is to create a market map that tracks the flow of goods from either the producer or exporters all the way to the end consumer. The objective of this exercise is to highlight the full range of distribution options available to clients in the value chain and the relative importance (in terms of volume percentages) of the various channels. This analysis is usually done via a small number of targeted interviews with buyers or members of the value chain who understand how goods flow to the end customer. Depending on how complete the data is at the end of this interview process, it can be complemented by in-depth research during Phase 2. There are two steps to completing this analysis:
- Categorization of the channel partners: creating a comprehensive list of all players between key value chain clients and the end customers with approximate values of goods flowing through each channel.
- Mapping: to facilitate an understanding of how the system works, the catalog of channel partners should be mapped out and annotated to highlight major channels and smaller, but potentially more lucrative distribution channels for the value chain. This step of identifying new channels is the basis for the targeting of these channels for additional research during Phase 2.
The market map of how Afghan DFN gets from exporters to the end consumer in India is found below.
The seasonality analysis is designed to look beyond the averages of the market in order to gain a better understanding of the monthly, seasonal, or holiday business cycles. Secondary research can be used to find the changes in quantity and prices in the domestic market. The chart below looks at the EU tomato market, both internally and externally. The purpose of this evaluation is important for two reasons. First, periods of high demand often bring new opportunities and a premium price as the market expands (Halloween stores in the United States, sheep for Islamic festivals). Second, agriculture is seasonal and thus might offer counter-cyclical opportunities to export items when domestic production is lower. This type of secondary analysis was not conducted for Afghan DFN as dried commodities tend to have less fluctuations in terms of price and protectionism based on preliminary interviews with buyers and reviews of existing import data for India. In the tomato example below, this analysis highlighted an opportunity and a challenge for Albanian exporters. Relatively high prices and low tariffs between October and January indicated an attractive window for tomato exporters to serve the EU, if they could configure themselves to produce market-ready vegetables at the correct time. However, this analysis also showed heavy competition from existing players, so Albania would need to think about how to differentiate its product in the market to win.