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    Frejus Thoto

    There is amount of evidence that agriculture markets are rapidly growing, generating new consumption, production and distribution patterns. Value chains, which are range of value-added activities linking commodity producers to processors, transporters and markets not only are controlled by the national supermarkets but also the multinational firms are capturing a growing share of African agri-food systems (Kaplinsky and Morris, 2001).


    These agriculture chains have provided opportunities for quality employment for men and women in Africa. The World Bank reports (2008) indicates that agriculture plays a key role in poverty reduction and is a means of subsistence for women in many developing countries. It was also confirmed in the FAO Report (2011) on the state of food and agriculture that women on average make up 43% of the agricultural workforce in developing countries and 50% of the agricultural workforce in sub-Saharan Africa.


    However, the concerns exist.  These agriculture chain have also increased costs which is usually transferred to struggling classes at the bottom of economic pyramid.  The firms in the agriculture value chain benefit from the agriculture compared to poor farmers who are the main producers. In many African countries, these agriculture chains perpetuate gender inequality and stereotypes that keep women in lower paid and casual work. For example, women workers are generally segregated in certain nodes of the chain (e.g. processing, packaging, displaying or selling) that require relatively unskilled labor, reflecting cultural stereotypes on gender roles and abilities. Gender in equality in agriculture is also triggered by unlawful customary rights that limit women access to land. The records also show that in other countries where women are granted an access to land they are still experiencing unequal distribution of arable land.

    According the World Bank, FAO and IFAD (2009) Report, in traditional and modern agricultural value chains, women often face less favorable employment conditions than men.  In the Senegal tomato sector, for example, 2% of female workers and 28% of male workers have permanent contracts, in Kenya’s fruit and vegetable export businesses, women constitute 80% of the workers in packing, labelling and bar-coding of produce. Furthermore, women workers usually receive lower wages than men in French bean and tomato industries in Senegal.

    If the women are the ones who feed more mouths than their male counterparts, why should they be treated unfairly in the agriculture production and distribution systems? To answer this question, the AfCoP Secretariat is launching an online discussion to seeks inputs and ideas that can stimulate policies and strategies to improve to enhance gender equality in the sector.

    Please join us on the discussion on the following questions:

    1. Why majority of women are not found in managerial positions in the agriculture chain value compared to their male counterparts?
    2. What are good examples in which women were beneficially involved in the agricultural value chain your country?

    What could be done in enhancing gender policies African countries to promote gender equality in Agricultural chain value?

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