Challenging chains to change: Gender equity in agricultural value chain development

This book (KIT, Agri-ProFocus and IIRR. 2012, 337 pages) explains how development organizations and private entrepreneurs have found ways to improve the position of women in value chains – especially small-scale women farmers and primary processors. It outlines five broad strategies for doing this: (1) working with women on typical “women’s products” such as shea, poultry and dairy, (2) opening up opportunities for women to work on what are traditionally “men’s commodities” or in men’s domains, (3) supporting women and men in organizing for change by building capacity, organization, sensitization and access to finance, (4) using standards and certification to promote gender equity, and (5) promoting gender-responsible business.

The book draws on dozens of cases from all over the world, covering a wide range of crops and livestock products. These include traditional subsistence products (such as rice), small-scale cash items (honey, vegetables) as well as export commodities (artichokes, coffee) and biofuels (jatropha). The book includes a range of tools and methodologies for analysing and developing value chains with gender in mind.

By bringing together the two fields of gender and value chains, this book offers a set of compelling arguments for addressing gender in value chain development. It proposes an analytical framework that builds on both fields. It outlines five strategies for development organizations and enterprises to ensure that women can participate in value chains as full partners and decision-makers. The overall result is to improve value chain performance, with both women and men able to enjoy the benefits.

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