Developing Gender Sensitive Value chains 

The main goal of developing gender sensitive value chains is to increase participation of women in agribusiness value chain. This is central in developing a dynamic and efficient agri-food sector. It helps achieve food security and nutrition for all and promote inclusion and social justice. Gender sensitive value chain is in line with the pledge of “leaving no one behind” at the core of the Agenda 2030 and the SDGs Goal 5.  It is also in line with the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of discrimination against women particularly its article 14 on rural women. Women are highly involved in agri-food value chains but their contribution often remains invisible to other value actors and policy makers. Women face specific and additional barriers that limit their productive and entrepreneurial potential along the value chain.  These barriers have to be addressed to improve value chain performance.

Why does gender matter in value chain development?

  1. Women are highly involved in agri-food value chains; however, their contribution often remains invisible to other value chain actors and policy makers.
  2.  Stereotypes about division of labour between men and women at household level lead to an underestimation of women’s productive work.
  3. Traditional tools for value chain analysis fail to capture the unpaid work women provide as family laborers or partners in businesses.
  4. Women’s prevalence in the informal economy reduces the visibility of their contribution in official statistics and reports.
  5. Women face specific and additional barriers that limit their productive and entrepreneurial potential along the value chain. Many of these barriers result from discriminatory social norms, prejudices or rigid gender stereotypes.
  6. In many countries, women still do not enjoy equal access to land rights as men. Not owning land prevents women’s access to financial services as women lack collaterals to ask for credit.
  7. Rural women remain underserved by the provision of public and private rural advisory services, and thus are less exposed to innovative practices and technologies.
Gender Equality
Contribute to food security and nutrition 
Enhances social justice 
Improves value chain efficiency 
Promoting gender equality in value chains has a multiplier effect

Improves value chain efficiency 

  • Major comparative studies have already established that improvements in gender equality and economic growth can be mutually reinforcing while gender inequalities tend to be costly and inefficient. 
  • Strengthening women’s position along the chain, by making their work visible and improving their access to resources and services, reduces inefficiencies and losses along the chain.
  • Value chain efficiency is highly dependent on strong linkages and positive collaboration among actors, and women are important stakeholders all along value chains, although they are often invisible and overlooked.

Enhancing social justice

  • Eliminating the constraints that prevent women from engaging profitably in value chains contribute to empowering them, economically and socially and in turn to building a more equal and just society.
  • Gender inequality is a violation of human rights and it is not compatible with sustainable and inclusive development.

Contribution to food security and nutrition

  • Promoting gender equality in the agriculture sector has an impact of food security and nutrition. The FAO Report on the State of Food and Agriculture 2010-2011 estimated that if women had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20-30 percent. This could increase yields on their farms by 20-30 percent. This could raise total agricultural output in developing countries by 2.5-4 percent, which could in turn reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 12-17 percent.

Gender sensitive value chains and the SDGs

Gender sensitive value chain development contributes to the attainment of several SGDS. It contributes directly to SGD 5, 8 and 9 and indirectly to SGD 1 and 2.

Major Steps in Developing Gender Sensitive Value chains

Step I: Understanding gender-senstive value chain development basic concepts.

Step 2: Perform a gender-senstive chain analysis

Step 3: Develop strategies to address gender-based constraints

Step 4: Move from conceptualisation to actual interventions

Gender approaches to development programs

Based on the extent to which they address gender concerns, we can define programs as gender blind, aware or transformative.

  • Gender blind: Do not consider gender roles and their implications. They do not address how gender issues might impact the achievement of project objectives.
  • Gender Aware: Take into consideration gender roles and power relations. Gender concerns are integrated into some aspects of the programme life cycle such as market research, and participation targets between women and men are established and monitored.
  • Gender transformative: Seek to challenge and transform unequal gender roles and relations. It goes beyond the individual level to focus on the interpersonal, social and institutional levels in order to address the root causes of gender-based inequalities. A gender transformative approach entails not only improving women’s access to services and resources, but also helping communities challenge the social norms that perpetuate inequalities, engaging with men and boys as partners of change.

Contact Information

Edson Twinamatsiko

Development and Research Associates

Plot 35/37, Equatorial Mall, William Street


Tel: +256752637505



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