17 October 2012 zichtbaarzijn

By Angelica Senders

On Friday 28 September, the Agri-ProFocus network saw the launch of the book: Challenging Chains to Change – Gender Equity in Agricultural Value Chain Development. Produced by the Royal Tropical Institute and sponsored by ICCO, Hivos, Cordaid and Oxfam Novib, the book is the result of a writeshop process organised by Agri-ProFocus. The book, dubbed the 'ChaChaCha book', was developed with coordination of Anna Laven and Rhiannon Pyburn of KIT. Through the Agri-ProFocus network, case briefs (105!) were collected, selected, written down in a writeshop process and edited into a resource book for practitioners.

Angelica Senders from Fair & Sustainable Advisory Services (FSAS) was resource person at the writeshop in Nairobi as representative of ICCO (read her blog post on this experience).

A PDF version of the book is freely available (download here). Please note that the download is 10MB. The book can also be ordered as paperback for € 25,- from KIT Publishers.

Book abstract

Very often, efforts to improve value chains miss out half of the population – the female half. It is men who sell the products and who keep the money from those sales. The women, who do much of the work but are not recognised for it, often have to work even harder to meet ever-increasing quality requirements. But they see few of the benefits.

How to change this? This book explains how development organisations 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 organising for change by building capacity, organisation, sensitisation 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 organisations 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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