Field day in Hoya camp, Lundazi, Zambia.

Gender and agriculture

KIT supports companies and national and international development organisations to clarify and improve the gender dimensions of their funding, programmes and value chain activities. Our aim is to support the creation of more equitable, inclusive enterprises, from the farmer level right to the consumer – including more gender equitable investment.

A gender imbalance in value chain development

Value-chain development initiatives often neglect as much as half of a population – the female half. It tends to be men who sell the products and who keep the money from these sales. Women, who do much of the labour for which they are not recognised, often have to work even harder to meet ever-increasing quality requirements, but see few benefits in return. This is not only true of the production end of the chain, but is reflected right through to management and sales.

Gender equity and value-chain development initiatives work to redress this imbalance. Gender equity is a productive starting point for looking at other issues of inclusion within value-chain development (e.g. participation of youth, people living with HIV and so on).

Challenging chains to change

KIT is at the cutting edge of the emerging field of gender and value-chain development. In 2012 our book Challenging Chains to Change – gender equity in agricultural value chain development laid out our arguments for bringing a gender lens to value chain analysis.

To support our arguments gender and value-chain specialists from KIT and its network came together to develop an analytical framework for approaching gender equity in value chain development.

This framework incorporates the concepts of agency and structure to shed light on the institutional and capacity challenges facing different categories of women and men as they seek to improve their livelihoods and social positions, in the household and in their community. Through analysing 25 cases from Africa, Asia and Latin America five different strategies are articulated for addressing gender in value chains.

Project-specific work on gender and value chains

KIT is increasing its work on gender in value chain projects, including in cocoa, coffee, and tea sectors. To enhance this we provide capacity development and coaching for organisations on this theme. KIT is particularly well placed to bridge these two fields due to its many years of experience in both gender and rights work alongside sustainable economic development.

We aim to increase the pro-poor impact of value chain interventions by putting more emphasis on inclusion. To go a step further, we draw upon the expertise of in-house gender specialists in capacity building for gender analysis and rights-based approaches. This in-house expertise is grounded in years of design and implementation of research and knowledge-based programmes. Our approach helps users identify and address factors that hinder respect for rights.

Our goal is to facilitate a shift towards at least ‘gender neutral’ – though ideally gender transformative – activities. By assessing the starting point of the client we can build tailor-made programmes to build capacity on that basis. We generate knowledge through ‘writeshops’, workshops and consultancy assignments to deepen our insights, which are shared with enterprises and other organisations through our capacity development programmes and coaching.