Women play a major role in food production but reap few of the benefits


7 March 2013

The campaign ‘Behind the Brands,’ launched by Oxfam recently, is an important step towards sustainable food production, an issue to which the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) is also committed.

The campaign shows that there is still a long way to go before sustainable supply chains become the norm. Oxfam is calling on food manufacturers worldwide to be more transparent regarding their sourcing policies, and more specifically, Oxfam is drawing attention to the position of women in the production of food crops such as cocoa.

Study of KIT as inspiration

Like Oxfam, KIT is working towards a more sustainable global food sector in which women’s rights are respected. Women play a major role in food production, but they reap few of the benefits. And they are often more ‘food insecure’ than men, in this case they have less access to, use of and control over food. KIT is a knowledge partner in the field of coffee, tea and also cocoa industry, government and civil society organisations. A study conducted by KIT on the role of women in cocoa was used as an inspiration for the current campaign of Oxfam.

In the cocoa sector in particular, KIT has seen the willingness of big brands to commit to improving women’s position. The challenge for the coming years is to find out how large scale improvements can be achieved. KIT is in the middle of this debate and is ready to move forward on this very important issue, together with partners, such as Oxfam, to improve the position of women in the cocoa sector.