Agriculture / East Africa / ILRI / Value Chains / Women

Advancing agri-practice: Adding value for women

The ‘Advancing agri-practice: Adding value for women’ workshop was held at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya on 23-24 May, 2011. Cosponsored by the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), this event provided a unique forum for practitioners and researchers working on agricultural value chains to share information on gender-related research and gender-responsive practices in agriculture development.

The purpose of the two-day workshop was to (1) demonstrate the importance of gender analysis as a means of improving agriculture program effectiveness and outcomes for women, (2) facilitate the identification of common ground regarding demand for and supply of data on gender and agriculture, and (3) define ways forward to improve the quantity, quality, availability and accessibility of gender and agriculture data.

The workshop was attended by thirty-three practitioners and researchers working in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and internationally. Approximately half of these participants represented research institutions such as ILRI, KARI, Mikocheni Agricultural Research Institute, Egerton University, Makerere University and the University of Nairobi. The other half were practitioners representing a wide range of private and public sector stakeholders, including AGMARK, AGRA, Agri-ProFocus, Cultural Practice, LLC, Ford Foundation, GIZ (PSDA), International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), Kenya Coffee Producers Association, Kenya Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Urban Development Initiatives (RUDI), Solidaridad Network, Soroptimist International, SNV and World Food Program.

The workshop was designed to be highly participatory and collaborative. On the first day of the workshop, groups discussed challenges and solutions of how enhanced productivity, value addition opportunities, market linkages and an enabling environment can benefit women. On day two, groups discussed how to tackle gender inequalities in agricultural development practice and developed strategies and next steps to improve gender integration through improved data collection and dissemination and capacity building.

Participants had the opportunity to discuss their experiences and the challenges they face in implementing agricultural programs including:

  • The failure of gender-blind programming to address women’s constraints in accessing resources and inputs;
  • Lack of understanding of how intra-household gender relations impact farm productivity and distribution of benefits, and how to intervene in agricultural process in ways that minimize conflict within households; and
  • Restricted market opportunities for women because they are less able to meet quality standards and/or quantity demands.

Participants also shared information on topics such as: collecting data to examine gender-based constraints; the work conditions of female temporary workers in horticultural value chains in Kenya; and results from a gender analysis of the banana value chain in Imenti South District, Kenya. Representatives from East Africa Dairy Development (EADD), Fintrac’s Kenya Horticulture Competitiveness Project, and ACDI/VOCA’s Kenya Maize Development Programme reported on what these organizations are doing to identify gender-based constraints, apply solutions and tackle bottlenecks.

Issues that emerged from question-and-answer sessions and focused group work included:

  • Assistance in the ‘how to’ of gender-aware data collection, analysis and project implementation;
  • Interest in a tool (or tools):
    • To examine risk and resilience of men and women working in value chains with respect to technology adoption, climate change, economic shocks, etc.; and
    • To incorporate/aggregate data from multiple value chains to better understand the reality of household dynamics and decision-making;
  • Project monitoring and evaluation at the intra-household level to examine disaggregation and jointness of activities, decisions and incomes, rather than stopping at the level of the household head; and
  • Improved understanding of the dynamics between the household and value chains around control of labor, economic benefits, women’s time poverty and cultural constraints, by using multiple research tools: surveys, participatory value chain mapping, case studies, panel studies, etc.

These issues were illustrative of the many critical areas of research that will need to be addressed to inform the design and implementation of agricultural value chain projects that effectively integrate gender and benefit both women and men.

Full access to the presentations can be found on slideshare.

View the ILRI presentation on gender and value chains:

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