The emerging saffron value chain in the M’Zab valley – southern Algeria: an analysis of ongoing dynamics and strategic development options

The saffron growing has emerged over the last decade in Algeria and has diffused in different agroclimatic regions, especially in the M’Zab valley and its periphery in the Saharan region of the country. This study sets out to analyze the emerging saffron value chain in the M’Zab valley and suggests strategic options for strengthening its development. The analysis was based on a case study. The methodology applied the tools of value chain analysis in its positive and normative dimensions: a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches based on the triangulation of data collection methods (interviews, secondary data collection, direct observations). A participatory approach was used to make a SWOT analysis and to propose strategies for developing the value chain. The results showed that the local saffron value chain has strengths (proftabilty and quality) and opportunities (growing demand of healthy and natural products), but its performance is limited by weaknesses (producers skills, marketing) and threats (Fraud or counterfeiting related to imported saffron) mainly related to the deficiencies in the institutional environment. Recommendations are made for elaborating a national saffron export strategy and building a competitive value chain able to take advantage of the expected growth in world demand.