Closing the Gender Asset Gap: Learning from Value Chain Development in Africa and Asia
28 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2014
Date Written: February 1, 2014
Strengthening the abilities of smallholder farmers in developing countries, particularly women farmers, to produce for both home and the market is currently a development priority. Although value chain analysis has increasingly incorporated gender issues, the intersection between women’s asset endowments and their participation in market-oriented agriculture receives minimal attention. This paper explores initial findings from four case studies in the Gender, Agriculture, and Assets Project on changes in gender relations in different agricultural interventions. It documents the adaptive measures projects are taking to encourage gender-equitable value chain projects. Findings suggest that the dairy and horticulture value chain cases have successfully increased the stock of both men’s and women’s tangible assets and those assets they own jointly. The projects have also increased social and human capital, particularly for women. The projects are an important first step, but other targeted support to farmers may be needed to promote acquisition of the physical assets required to expand agribusinesses and to enter other nodes of the value chain. Further, successful value chain operations influence how people accumulate assets and the specific assets in which they are able to invest, itself a function of initial asset endowments of men, women, and households.
Keywords: gender, women, assets, agricultural development, evaluation, food security, smallholders, value chain
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