Adding Value to Agribusiness Value Chains
Mounting evidence confirms that gender-smart solutions in agribusiness can increase the sector’s productivity and profitability and lead to stronger, more integrated value chains. IFC will present the business case for gender in agribusiness and share key findings of two recent IFC publications that offer concrete examples and guidance on how companies can increase their profits and productivity by investing in women as part of their direct workforce and as smallholder farmers/agents along agribusiness value chains.
The ACDI/VOCA Zambia Profit+ program and their process of building women’s capacity to become entrepreneurs through the Community Agro-dealer (CA) model will be showcased. The Zambia Profit+ program encourages women to become entrepreneurs and links them to market actors and opportunities while also providing capacity building, access to resources, and increased agency/empowerment. Zambia Profit+ recently completed a qualitative impact assessment of the Community Agro-dealers (CAs) that demonstrated a link between women’s participation as CAs, increased income and economic agency as well as social empowerment and household nutrition. The study showed CAs are investing income toward both household and business needs, and they are seen as leaders in their communities because they provide information, technologies and other services which the communities could not previously access.
The WEAI4VC (Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index for Value Chains) is an ongoing effort by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) to adapt the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index to provide metrics for women’s empowerment in multiple stages of the value chain. It involves the modification, testing, and quantitative and qualitative validation of modules that aim to measure women’s empowerment not only as producers, but also as entrepreneurs and wage earners, in Bangladesh and the Philippines. The work in the two countries is closely related, though each has a slightly different emphasis. In Bangladesh, the main objective is to find out whether women are most empowered as producers, entrepreneurs, or wage earners, whereas in the Philippines, the objective is to examine women’s empowerment in different commodity value chains—abaca, coconut, seaweed, and swine. The work in Bangladesh and Philippines is supported by USAID and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, respectively.