Gender and Equity for Nutritious and Healthy Food Systems

Large disparities in nutrition and health outcomes exist between different social groups, and resources and processes related to these outcomes are often distributed inequitably.  These differences intersect with gender, in some cases compounding gender differences, and in others, offsetting them. Recognizing these inequities, this theme explores the role of gender and other social categories such as age, caste, class, ethnicity, race, and religion, among others, that create differences in health and nutrition outcomes and processes that are unnecessary, avoidable, unfair, and unjust.  

Five sessions on this theme were run over the three days.

  1. Linkages between Agriculture, Nutrition, and Empowerment. Chair: Padmaja Ravula
  2. Measuring Impacts on Nutrition and Empowerment. Chair: Agnes Quisumbing
  3. Integrating Nutrition and Gender in Agriculture Projects
  4. Gender and Nutrition in Vegetable Value Chains. Chair: Libby Swanepoel
  5. Gender and Value Chains. Chair: Jemimah Njuki

Linkages between Agriculture, Nutrition, and Empowerment

Chair: Padmaja Ravula

Presented between 11am and 12:30pm on Wednesday, April 3, 2019.

Do empowered people make healthier food choices?: An experimental analysis of men's and women's food choices among smallholder farming households in Guatemala

Diksha Arora

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For Guatemalan smallholder farming households who are producing as well as consuming units, this paper evaluates the choices that men and women make between different food items using a choice experiment methodology. Additionally, the survey includes WEAI module, household diet diversity and farm production module. We focus solely on couple households in order to understand the links between intra-household dynamics and food choices. The experiment, first, provides nutritional information of various food items to the respondents, and then, asks the participants to report their choices from a list of food items, which includes a wide variety of locally produced goods as well as locally sold food items, for three different levels of hypothetical incomes. As the income increases, individuals select more food items or increase the quantities of already selected items. We employ the WHO nutrient profiling model to convert food choices into food scores for healthy and unhealthy items. Using the experiment and survey data, we analyze the links between food choices, and men’s and women’s empowerment indicators and the gender gap in empowerment, controlling for socio-economic characteristics of the household and the individuals. In order to conduct an intra-household analysis of food choices, we include the responses of the man, the woman and the couple together in a multiple multivariate regression. The results help to understand the factors influencing food choices of men and women, which will help inform policy targeting nutrition and health.

Giving visibility to invisible work: Embedding gendered patterns of work intensity in agriculture-nutrition research

Giacomo Zanello

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With Picchioni, Fiorella; Srinivasan, Chittur; Wyatt, Amanda; and Webb, Patrick

Gendered time poverty has been identified as one of the crucial factors to explain the agriculture- nutrition disconnect. However, time spent on different activities does not accurately capture work intensity, leaving a number of questions unanswered. Does the ardours nature of work in rural contexts play a role in hindering the achievement of optimal nutritional outcomes? What are the different characteristics of work intensity between men and women and what are their implications ? What are the policy considerations that can be derived? This paper attempts to answer these questions by investigating work intensity -- as a combination of length of individual work time, energy cost, and simultaneity in performing multiple and competing tasks -- and its gendered patterns. We apply an innovative approach that integrates energy expenditure data obtained from accelerometry devices with time-use data. Accelerometry data were collected across four non-consecutive weeks over a complete agricultural cycle from 40 wife-husband dyads in India and Nepal and complemented with daily time use surveys. The complementarity and differences between men’s and women’s tasks and the nature of the work they perform are at the core of shaping nutritional outcomes generated by agricultural and livelihood practices. The paper offers a methodological approach to substantiate with empirical evidence the gendered dynamics of work intensity in rural context which had hitherto not been available . For example, it can provide quantitative measurement of the impacts of policies or technology adoption on work intensity along lines of gender, age and income in agricultural settings in LMICs.

Assessing livestock ownership, gendered decision-making and dietary quality among smallholder households in rural Timor-Leste

Gianna Bonis-Profumo

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With Stacey, Natasha; and Brimblecombe, Julie

In Timor-Leste, the majority of rural populations are semi-subsistence farmers who raise livestock, yet diets consistently lack protein and child malnutrition is high. This longitudinal mixed-methods study aimed to examine gender relations, particularly women’s agency, related to livestock husbandry, their sale, and animal-source food (ASF) consumption among smallholder households in Timor-Leste. Data collected in two districts over a 12 month period included seasonal livestock herd size, and an adapted Abbreviated Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index administered to mothers and male adults in dual-headed households (n=282). Semi-structured interviews (n=30) explored social norms around the intra-household distribution of ASF. Seasonal child and maternal dietary diversity and ASF intake quantified their dietary quality. Most women and men considered livestock as household assets and made decisions jointly. Compared to other productive activities, raising livestock displayed the highest self-efficacy for women. Mothers had more autonomy to sell eggs and chickens than pigs or buffalo. Despite women frequently reported as the sole decision-makers for small ASF purchases, the qualitative results suggest a greater disparity in control over household resources than indicated by the quantitative data. No differences in ASF allocation according to gender were identified, while eggs were often prioritised to children. Seasonality influenced ASF intake and less than a quarter of mothers and children 6-23 months old achieved dietary diversity adequacy. Women display stronger agency in small livestock management despite unequal bargaining power informed by traditional gender norms. Findings suggest that programs focusing on poultry have potential to support women’s empowerment and dietary quality outcomes.

Using ethical community engagement to improve agriculture-nutrition links in resource poor communities: Lessons from the field

Michaela Cosijn

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With Carter, Lucy

Current NSA guidance highlights the various constraints and assumptions which influence improved nutrition outcomes. The factors that mediate these pathways are multifaceted, interrelated and often require cross-sectoral cooperation. They are also in many ways governed by the wider use of contemporary agricultural development approaches which rarely afford sufficient consideration of the inequities that serve to exclude and further marginalise intended beneficiaries.A multilateral project funded by the Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research has acknowledged these barriers to participation and inclusion and is trialling an ethical community engagement (ECE) approach to development interventions. ECE challenges the fundamental structure of how development projects are pursued, allowing for community-driven, inclusive, and more equitable participation and decision-making for programs aiming to improve the lives of the poor. Promoting Socially Inclusive and Sustainable Agriculture Intensification in West Bengal and Bangladesh (SIAGI) has been in a unique position to explore how current international guidance on NSA plays out in very resource poor, traditionally marginalised communities, where food insecurity is very high. In the course of working this way, the SIAGI team have encountered multiple challenges in applying currently available international guidance on NSA and has documented our learnings. This paper shares our experiences in applying an ECE approach when considering agriculture-nutrition links with a view to improving the health and nutrition environment in resource poor communities.

Gender based perceptions of food, dietary behavior and practices in tribal regions of Telangana: A qualitative assessment of vulnerable population

Padmaja Ravula

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With Kasala, Kavitha and Pramanik, Soumitra

Tribal population is generally at risk for malnutrition owing to their dependence on primitive agricultural practices, poverty, illiteracy, poor personal and environmental hygienic practices, lack of access to healthcare, poor communication, traditional beliefs and customs. This paper assesses dietary preferences, choices and nutrition behaviors and practices of vulnerable tribal groups. The study population includes pregnant women, lactating mothers and adolescent girls in Tiryani mandal, Komaram Bheem-Asifabad district, India. Data was collected from 55 respondents using semi-structured interviews and social analysis tools. The conversations with communities on food cultures and perceptions revealed the prevalence of myths, food fads and taboos during pregnancy, lactation and adolescence. Fasting is commonly observed by women and girls. Preference for food cooked at home against packaged or food prepared outside the home and customary practices on serving food. Diets are majorly cereal and legume based cultivated by the community. Vegetables are consumed during rainy season; pulses during winter and traditional porridges during summer. Dominant gender based socio-cultural beliefs and related social norms including dietary taboos and, in some communities, early marriage and childbearing for girls, impact adversely on the health, well-being and nutritional status of communities. Long-term social and behavioral change programs are needed to raise awareness and catalyze change on some dominant socio-cultural beliefs and practices leading to better nutritional outcomes. The qualitative surveys served as a lens to understand the views and experiences of the tribal community regarding common dietary patterns and gender based perceptions of food.

Measuring Impacts on Nutrition and Empowerment

Chair: Agnes Quisumbing

PANEL 1: Empowerment impacts of agricultural development projects in South Asia

Agnes Quisumbing, Elizabeth Kirkwood, Akhter Ahmed, Neha Kumar, and William Thompson

The panel focuses on impact evaluations of four nutrition- and gender-sensitive projects in South Asia.

Quisumbing, Agnes

Measuring impacts on nutrition and empowerment.

No abstract.

Kirkwood, Elizabeth K with Alam, Ashraful; and Dibley, Michael J.

How does a combined nutrition counselling and cash transfer intervention impact women and their level of empowerment? A study protocol from rural Bangladesh.

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Whilst progress has been made in many areas of gender equality and the empowerment of women, the potential for women to fully participate as “agents of change” is still limited due to persistent social, economic and political inequalities. It is well documented that women’s empowerment is an underlying determinant of nutrition outcomes. Household food security and agricultural productivity are also directly impacted by the level of empowerment experienced by women. Methods / Design: This study uses a mixed-methods approach, combining statistical analysis of quantitative data from 3540 participants in a NHMRC funded trial entitled “Cash transfers and behaviour change communications to reduce child undernutrition in rural Bangladesh: a cluster randomised controlled trial to determine the most effective combination of interventions”. Women will be given a smart phone with a customised app, delivering nutrition BCC messages, access to counselling via a call centre and an unconditional cash transfer. Women’s empowerment will be measured using the Project-Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index, with data collection at baseline, midline and endline. Thematic analysis of qualitative data collected through longitudinal qualitative interviews with women, husbands and mothers-in-law will elicit local understanding of women’s empowerment and the linkages between the intervention and women’s empowerment outcomes.Discussion: This paper describes the study protocol evaluating women’s empowerment in a nutrition-specific and -sensitive intervention and will help fill the evidence gap on pathways of impact and highlight areas to target for future programming.

Akhter U. Ahmed with Hoddinott, John; Menon, Purnima; Quisumbing, Agnes; Roy, Shalini and Younus, Masuma

Designing for empowerment impact: The Agriculture, Nutrition, and Gender Linkages project in Bangladesh.

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The relationships between agricultural diversity, dietary diversity, and gender norms are complex and multidimensional. The Agriculture, Nutrition, and Gender Linkages (ANGeL) pilot project, implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh assessed the impact of three alternative intervention modalities for promoting nutrition and gender sensitive agriculture. The modalities were: (1) Agriculture Production trainings to promote production of high-value commodities rich in essential nutrients; (2) Nutrition Knowledge, through high-quality behavior change communication training, to improve nutrition knowledge of women and men; and (3) Gender Sensitization trainings to improve the status /empowerment of women and gender parity between women and men. All trainings were targeted to men and women. Preliminary results show that both men and women benefited from agricultural trainings, yet women learned more from the same trainings. Crop diversity increased substantially in homestead gardens, mainly due to ANGeL’s emphasis on homestead food production from nutritious crops. Farmers also adopted improved production practices. Women were more likely to apply knowledge gained from agricultural production trainings to adopt improved agriculture production practices, such as pest disease and control, seed production and care, and use of quality fertilizer. Similarly, improvements in nutrition knowledge were far greater for women and men when trainings were combined. The strongest improvements in empowerment resulted from combining agriculture, nutrition, and gender sensitization trainings. ANGeL’s household approach empowered women and men in different ways: while women became more empowered in asset ownership and income decisions, men became more empowered in production and income decisions in select interventions.

Kumar, Neha with Raghunathan, Kalyani; Arrieta, Alejandra; Jilani, Amir; Pandey, Shinjini; and Quisumbing, Agnes

The power of the collective empowers women: Evidence from self-help groups in India.

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Women’s groups have rapidly gained prominence as important rural social and financial institutions in South Asia. In India, a large majority of women’s groups programs are implemented through self-help groups (SHGs). This paper uses panel data from India to study the impact of SHG membership on women’s empowerment in agriculture, using the abbreviated Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index. Because access to SHG membership was not random and women who self-select to be SHG members may be systematically different from women who chose not to be members, we employ nearest neighbor matching to attribute the impact of being a member of an SHG on women’s empowerment in agriculture. Our findings suggest that that SHG membership has a significant positive impact on aggregate measures of women’s empowerment and reduces the gap between the empowerment scores of women and men within the same household. This improvement in aggregate empowerment is driven by improvements in women’s scores, not by deterioration in men’s. Greater control over income, greater decisionmaking over credit, and more active involvement in groups within the community lead 41 to improvements in women’s scores. However, impacts on production decisions and asset ownership are limited, and the weakly significant impacts on workloads indicate that group membership may involve tradeoffs in terms of time use. The insignificant impacts on measures of empowerment related to attitudes towards domestic violence, and respect suggest that, despite impacts on some measures of empowerment, being an SHG member may not be enough to change deep-seated gender norms that disempower women.

Thompson, William with Janzen, Sarah; Magnan, Nicholas; and Sharma, Sudhindra

Paying it forward: Short-term impacts of a livelihoods program with built-in spillovers.

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The rural poor are often assumed to lack access to the productive assets, human capital or social capital required to be successful entrepreneurs. Productive asset transfer programs, which often include a training component, are one way that organizations and governments try to relax constraints to facilitate permanent transitions out of persistent poverty. We evaluate the short-term welfare impacts of Heifer International’s flagship program in Nepal using an RCT. The program targets women in poor rural communities, providing a package of benefits that includes a livestock transfer (two doe goats and a shared breeding buck), technical training on improved animal management and entrepreneurship, self-help group formation, and values-based training. The values-based training encourages beneficiaries to “pay it forward” (PIF) by sharing newly acquired technical skills and giving offspring of their received goats to another individual in their community. We find evidence that 1.5 years after implementation, direct beneficiaries in the most intense treatment demonstrate increased empowerment (+0.28 SD), financial inclusion (+0.28 SD), and aspirations (+0.18 SD). Empowerment is measured using the Abbreviated Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index (A-WEAI). The impact of the program on empowerment and financial inclusion persists even when values-based training or livestock are withheld, and the impact on aspirations persists in the treatment without goats. We also present evidence suggesting the PIF mechanism helps to quickly scale program impacts. Those who live in the same community as direct beneficiaries receiving values-based trainings, but not targeted as direct beneficiaries themselves, exhibit similar increases in financial inclusion and empowerment.

Integrating Nutrition and Gender in Agriculture Projects

ROUNDTABLE 2: Nutrition- AND Gender- Sensitive Agricultural Projects: Challenges and Opportunities

Neha Kumar, Akhter Ahmed, Masuma Younus, Saiqa Siraj, and Avijit Choudhury

The roundtable will convene implementors of nutrition-sensitive agricultural projects in Bangladesh and India with their impact evaluation partners to discuss the challenges and opportunities in making these programs more gender-sensitive. Two projects in Bangladesh are: ANGeL (Agriculture, Nutrition, and Gender Linkages), implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, and TRAIN (Targeting and Realigning Agriculture for Improved Nutrition), implemented by BRAC. WINGS (Women Improving Nutrition through Group-Based Strategies) is implemented by PRADAN, one of India’s largest NGOs.

These projects were designed in response to four main challenges in the literature: (1) the underlying issue of the high prevalence of women and children’s undernutrition in South Asia; (2) the need to fill knowledge gaps in how best to design and implement interventions that can accelerate nutrition improvements; (3) the failure of many agricultural development programs to recognize the close interlinkages between agriculture, nutrition, and gender, which, as a result of being isolated from programs in other sectors that address key underlying determinants of undernutrition only address part of the problem of undernutrition; and (4) generating evidence on how to design effective gendersensitive programs that have positive long-term impacts on women’s and children’s nutritional status and women’s empowerment.The projects attempt to address all four problems by evaluating different packages of agriculture-nutrition interventions that are designed to improve the nutritional status of women and children in a gender-sensitive way to provide more evidence on how these interventions can be better designed and “bundled” for delivery at scale.


Gender and Nutrition in Vegetable Value Chains

Chair: Libby Swanepoel


Gender roles along the sweet potato seed value chains in Southern Ethiopia: Implications for promotion of nutritious orange flesh varieties

Birhanu Biazin

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Ethiopia is one of top producers and suppliers of sweetpotato in Africa. However there is little knowledge about the gender roles and challenges along the seed value chains. This study was undertaken to fill this gap by examining the gender roles and challenges in two study districts, Dilla Zuria and Aleta Chuk, in Southern Ethiopia. A combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods was used. (16 sex disaggregated focus group discussions with an average of 8 participants each, 136 farm households structured questionnaire). Therefore, the involvements of men and women family members along the different activities of seed production and marketing could be rated under both men and women-headed households. The data were analyzed using gender relations approach as an analytical lens. The Statistical Software for Social Sciences was used to conduct descriptive statistics and mean separations. Both men and women FGD participants agreed that sweetpotato is one of the five main crops in terms of area coverage in both study sites. In terms of use as household food, sweetpotato was ranked as the fourth important crop in Aleta Chuko and the fifth in Dilla Zuria, respectively. Women in men-headed households have significantly (α < 0.05) higher involvements in application of organic fertilizers on the farms, collection of sweetpotato vines for livestock feed and small volume marketing of vines in village markets at both study sites. However, the roles of men in men-headed households were significantly higher than women in land preparations, weeding/hoeing and farm gate marketing of sweetpotato vines in large volumes. All the retailers of sweetpotato vines at both village and district markets were women either because men were less skillful at retailing or men are embarrassed to do sweetpotato retailing. Despite the significant roles of women in men-headed households in sweetpotato seed production and marketing, their access to extension and training was significantly (α < 0.001) lower than men at both study sites. This was mainly because men are seen as smallholder owners or farmers and women as helpers. The fact that men focused on income and women on food and the better access to extension by men implied gender inequalities and restrictions in the opportunities for women to engage with government bodies and better income opportunities at the same level as men. In order to achieve successful upgrading of the newly introduced orange-flesh sweetpotato value chains, gender transformative approaches are needed to ensure that women equally participate in extension services and trainings, large volume marketing and related entrepreneurial opportunities.

Smallholder vegetable production, women’s empowerment, and dietary diversity of children and adolescents in northern Vietnam

Christian Genova

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With Umberger, Wendy; Newman, Suzie; and Peralta, Alexandra

Many households in Southeast Asia suffer from low dietary diversity, which is a leading cause of persistent undernutrition. Children and adolescents are especially vulnerable to undernutrition, since they require energy and nutrient-dense food to maximise their full physical and cognitive potential. This paper investigates the determinants of dietary diversity for children aged six months to 17 years from smallholder farming households in Lao Cai Province, Vietnam. Three pathways that link agriculture with household diets and dietary diversity scores: vegetable production diversity, market engagement, and women’s empowerment, are considered. Regressions are estimated for the pooled, age- and gender-disaggregated samples using a Poisson Generalised Linear Model to explore associations between individual Dietary Diversity Score (DDS) and variables representing the three pathways, and other covariates. Both measures of market engagement, market access and market participation, are associated with significant improvements in DDS. For preschool girls, increased market access is significantly associated with an increase in DDS by up to two food groups. Household income and the educational attainment of the food preparer are statistically significant covariates associated with improved DDS for children. Improving nutritional knowledge of the main food preparer, promoting market engagement, and implementing interventions targeted at the low-lying and low vegetable density per capita areas may lead to improvements in dietary diversity.

Gender in nutrition sensitive vegetables value chain for sustainable food system in Bangladesh

Mohammad Jahangir Alam

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With Choudhury, Dipok K., and Ratna, Nazmun N.

Gender in nutrition sensitive vegetables value chain for sustainable food system in Bangladesh. Small farmers in South Asia face various barriers to achieve nutritional security. In this paper we focus how integration to Fruit & Vegetable (F&V) value chain by technological intervention can help female farmers in Bangladesh to have nutritional improvement and dietary diversity. F&V value chain remains inefficient in rural Bangladesh because of fragmented value chains, numerous actors in the value chain, inadequate infrastructure in terms of transportation and storage facilities and social barriers and taboos immensely important for female farmers. Besides, that higher retail price, less accessibility to the markets and lack of awareness regarding nutritional benefits more particularly by women putting additional pressure to achieve the nutritional outcomes. Our preliminary survey indicates that farmers are interested to participate in the ‘LOOP’ aggregation service introduced by ‘Digital Green’ (an international NGO) under which farmers sell their vegetables and access markets through village level aggregators. By using an android app for transaction entry and SMS receipts, this intervention not only ensures reduced explicit and implicit costs, and increased profits, and consequently increases material wellbeing of farmers. We apply the conceptual framework of Women Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) and investigates how, and to what extent LOOP ensures nutritional improvement for households with female LOOP farmers by employing system dynamics modelling approach.

Empowering women in seaweed utilisation for food: A cross-country peer-led approach

Libby Swanepoel

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With Tamuera, K.; Tioti, T.; Teemari, T.; Eria, T.; Tiitii, U.; Larson, S.; and Paul, N.

Empowering women in seaweed utilisation for food: A cross-country peer-led approach. Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are experiencing a triple burden of disease, with a high prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies, childhood stunting, and an increase in adult obesity and non-communicable diseases. An unhealthy diet, underpinned by poor access to and availability of fruit and vegetables, is endemic to SIDS. Edible seaweeds are traditional food in several SIDS, such as Samoa. They are highly nutritious, low cost and easy to harvest and therefore provide an alternative to fruit and vegetables. However, other countries such as Kiribati do not have a strong traditional culture for using seaweed in their diets. This project took a peer-led approach to engage women in Kiribati in participating in seaweed activities. A group of women from Samoa travelled to Kiribati to share their knowledge and skills in a 2-day practical sea grape (Caulerpa) workshop, aimed at introducing the women of Kiribati to potential benefits of seaweed consumption. In-person structured interviews were conducted with all Kiribati participants (n=24) to evaluate their interest, barriers and enablers, and expected costs and benefits from potential future engagement in seaweed activities. All participants felt I- Kiribati people would be interested in eating seaweed. There was high interest in being involved in seaweed related activities, including collecting, processing, selling and sharing their knowledge and skills. Age and health status were not deterrents to collecting seaweed from the reef. Leading or running a seaweed business appealed to one third of participants. Thematic analysis of qualitative responses revealed two potential benefits to seaweed activities; to promote health by sourcing nutritious food for themselves and their families, and to use seaweed to generate a cash income to support children’s education, daily provisions and church donations. The cross-country peer-led model used in this project successfully provided culturally appropriate, low cost education that promotes long-term results through the empowerment of women in Kiribati.

Gender and Value Chains

Chair: Jemimah Njuki

Presented between 1.30-2.55pm on Thursday, April 4, 2019.

Understanding empowerment among informal milk traders in Peri-urban Nairobi: Informing an adaptation of the project-level Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index

Emily Myers

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With Heckert, J.; Galiè, A.; Njiru, N.; Kakota, T.; and Alonso, S.

Developing measures of empowerment is critical for monitoring progress toward gender equality and women’s empowerment. We used formative qualitative research to understand empowerment among traders in the informal milk sector in peri- urban Nairobi and adapt the project-level Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (pro-WEAI). We conducted 6 single-sex focus group discussions, 48 in-depth individual interviews, 4 key informant interviews with current and former milk traders. Interviews were translated, transcribed, and thematically coded using deductive and inductive codes. Emic perceptions of empowerment among milk trader emphasized business success and supporting families and communities. Gender-specific markers of empowerment often aligned with traditional gender norms. Only low-value assets are needed to enter the sector, though a lack of large assets limits business growth, especially for women. Obtaining government licenses is sometimes challenging, and licenses help vendors maintain control over assets as authorities may seize them when vendors are found selling without a license. Small-scale credit is common, but access to large-scale credit is difficult to obtain for women, limiting the growth of women’s milk businesses. Business and household incomes are maintained separately, which helps women maintain control of their income. Married women (compared to single women) face more difficulty maintaining control of their income. Participation in savings and credit groups is common and facilitates acquisition of low-value assets. Membership in dairy trader groups, however, is uncommon especially among women, and low involvement in these groups may limit traders’ potential for collective action. We discuss how we use these findings to adapt the pro-WEAI.

Commercialization of the OFSP value chain in Mozambique – a gendered perspective

Sarah Mayanja

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With Mudege, N. Netsayi; Kwikiriza, Norman; and Munda, Eliah


Traditionally, sweetpotato is a woman’s crop grown for food in Mozambique. With the introduction of Vitamin A rich varieties, efforts were made to commercialize the crop. This study sought to assess the effects of commercialization on women actors in the chain. Single-sex Focus Group Discussion, individual interviews and structured questionnaires were used with 184 respondents comprising 143 producers (120F, 123M), one male processor and 41 traders (21F, 20M). Data from the midline survey were analysed specifically targeting gender indicators. Findings indicate that though women devoted more land to sweetpotato, men got higher yields, sold more and attained better prices. Nonetheless, women dominated the roots chain and made deeper foray in remunerable markets. The more lucrative sweetpotato vine chain was dominated by men (75% men), which is commendable for women given the resources and skills required to engage in vine businesses. Women perceived increased ability to make production decisions, though no change in resource ownership. Women and men noted a subtle change in norms. Men for example perceived that their ability to make decisions had reduced, while more women took leadership positions. This change could be attributed to the power brokerage role played by project implementors who encouraged men to allow their spouses engage in commercial activities. Whilst women faced challenges related to literacy, market entry and access to resources, they welcomed the experience obtained in their entrepreneurial tryst. Future commercialization initiatives should consider business services, stronger farmer-processer linkages and protracted strategies to sensitize men about benefits of women in business.

Gendered participation in the rice value chain: New insights from Kyela, Tanzania

Mesia Ilomo

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With Bergman-Lodin, Johanna; Rutashobya, Lettice; Pettersson, Katarina; and Ishengoma, Esther

Gendered participation in the rice value chain. New insights from Kyela, Tanzania. This study examines how participation in the rice value chain is gendered. We draw on primary research in Kyela, southern Tanzania, where rice is becoming an important source of both food and income for smallholder farmers. The data stem from 44 interviews and four gender and occupation segregated focus group discussions with farmers and traders carried in 2017 and 2018. We descriptively and qualitatively analyse the data and show that none of the three major value chain nodes – farming, processing and trading – are exclusively occupied by either women or men. In farming, planting and harvesting are equally shared by women and men, while men dominate in land preparation and women in weeding and threshing. Women dominate in drying and processing rice for both consumption and sale. However, the proportion of men in commercial rice processing (45%) is higher than in processing for household consumption (21%). Women also dominate in trading both unprocessed and processed rice. Proportionally, more men trade unprocessed rice (49%) than trading processed rice (20%). The findings of this paper improve our understanding of how the rice value chain in Kyela, is gendered and demonstrate the value of studying gendered divisions of labour in agricultural value chains on task level. We refute the common narrative that women’s involvement in the rice value chain is more or less limited to the farming node, with few women engaging in higher value nodes like processing and trading. Our study can inform research, policy and the design of future agricultural interventions.

Gender dynamics in modern agricultural value chains

Aneela Afzal

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Creating Shared Value (CSV) is amongst the most debated contemporary business models. This model suggests that as the produce moves across different steps so should the value generated by it. In Pakistani Agricultural landscape, two players namely British American Tobacco (BAT) and Nestle have followed CSV. We studied the farming households working with both of these companies to ascertain their social and gender development claims. A random sample of fifty female farmers was chosen for each company. Though both companies could significantly improve their business indicators they appeared to differ strikingly in their social and gender indicators. Nestle led the social indicators distantly followed by BAT. Such comparison enabled us to assess factors that shape success in gender and social development in conjunction with profitability. We concluded that gender development doesn’t happen as a fallout of better economic situation of the farmers. Gender Development has to be actively pursued. Nestle targeted gender development because females play a critical role in dairy and livestock management. However BAT never actively sought gender development because women play less important role in tobacco growing. Secondly, we concluded that female managed farms surpassed performance of their male managed counterparts. However we must bear in mind that in both the cases respective companies were actively assisting these female farmers in procuring their raw materials and selling their produce. Thirdly, whenever CSV enhanced farm household income, there came an equitable, not necessarily an equal, distribution of this increased wealth across all family members including women and children.

Gendered challenges of bargaining in agricultural value chains in the Eastern Gangetic Plains

Dipika Das

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And Wiesner, Retha


In South Asia, the Eastern Gangetic Plain (EGP) region portrays extreme poverty and climatic stress with deeply entrenched socio-economic inequalities amongst class, caste, ethnic group and tenancy types. The region also shows increased males’ migration in search of better employment in foreign countries. There is rise in de- facto and de-jure women headed households, with more women making decisions in farming. Women are facing empowerment opportunities however, are also exposed to gendered vulnerabilities. While agricultural commercialisation has increased market possibilities for smallholders, women farmers often face difficulties to make more profit, access markets, receive appropriate prices for products and meet delivery needs. The value creation of their products is linked with bargaining power as better bargaining leads to greater benefit. The aim of this study is to understand the complex dynamics of bargaining power of smallholder women farmers in agricultural value chain. It explores how gender norms constraint or facilitiate the women smallholder farmers bargaining process to participate in different elements of agricultural value chain of Eastern Gangetic Plain. The study was implemented in four villages of the Eastern Gangetic Plains (60 interviews and 4 focus groups discussions from the sites). Findings: Women smallholders often display low levels of bargaining power due to a lack of productive resources, low literacy and numeracy knowledge that is worsen by unequal gender norms. While intersectionality among women smallholder farmers is noted some gendered challenges, they faced are access to information on price and markets, mobility, household task and size of family. Despite the effort smallholder women farmers are putting on fields the major chunk of benefit from agricultural yield is made by traders in the agricultural value chain. The ability to bargain as a producer is vital to achieve adequate benefits and better livelihoods, particularly for the women farmers who are new to selling their products to the commercial markets.