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Women entrepreneurs – key players in ACP agribusiness development

The 42nd Brussels Briefing - also available in French - discussed the key challenges and new opportunities to enhance female agribusiness in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, reviewing the success of women entrepreneurs and the lessons learned from research and practice. It aimed to promote the exchange of information on best practices and drivers of success, feeding into the debate various perspectives on policy options. Women are clearly an important part of the agricultural labour force, but agriculture and agricultural value chains are equally important to women as source of employment. Addressing gender-based constraints in employment and productivity can increase competitiveness. When more than half of a country’s potential labour force is not used efficiently, competitiveness with other countries is negatively affected. A gender approach to value chain analysis and development allows for the consideration of groups and individual men and women’s access to productive activities; differential opportunities for upgrading within the chain; gender-based division of activities; and, how gender power relations impact economic rents among actors throughout the chain. Some new forms of organization in supply chains for export-oriented crops and agro-processing have created better-paying employment opportunities for women in many countries than existed before. Women dominate employment in many of the high-value agricultural commodity chains in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. New jobs in export-oriented agro-industries may not employ men and women on equal terms, however they often provide better opportunities for women than exist within the confines of traditional agriculture. 

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Sarah Cummings
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28 September 2015

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