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FIELD Report No. 12: Behavior Change Perspectives on Gender and Value Chain Development Image

Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems

FIELD Report No. 12: Behavior Change Perspectives on Gender and Value Chain Development

FIELD Report No. 12: Behavior Change Perspectives on Gender and Value Chain Development

Summary

Upgrading is key to creating competitive agricultural value chains and, in turn, providing a primary  source of income for rural agricultural households. Upgrading in response to changing market conditions  or new market opportunities can take many forms: adopting new products or production processes, adding new functions that add value, or selling through new market channels. Upgrading is supported by access to lump sums of money for investment, the adoption of new technologies, and the development of new business relationships.

Women in rural households play a key role in agriculture and can be instrumental in upgrading. However, gendered patterns in generating, allocating, controlling, and spending household income makes it difficult for women to accumulate lump sums required for upgrading. Gendered patterns in money management also limit the benefits that accrue to women, and thus their incentives to upgrade. This in turn affects their access to and use of new technologies. Social norms further determine how women are able to build the social and commercial networks and relationships necessary to adapt to changing market conditions and/or new markets.

From a gender perspective this report considers three areas of behavior related directly to upgrading:

• Money management behaviors that allow for the accumulation of lump sums and the control of money. These behaviors facilitate or impede the ability of farmers to pay for upgrading and benefit from the returns. 

• Business practices related to the adoption of new business/agricultural practices and participation in new business models that facilitate access to inputs, services, and information necessary for upgrading. 

• Value chain relationships that support the development of effective commercial networks, entry into new marketing channels, and improved information flow and trust. The quality of relationships between actors in the value chain influences whether individuals or groups trust each other, cooperate, and share information. 

These behaviors have direct implications for program strategies to promote upgrading—money management relates to financial services, payment systems, and financial education; business practices relate to the promotion of new technologies, and the design of new business models for delivering inputs, services and information; value chain relationships relate to improving information flow, strategies for horizontal cooperation among small farmers, and ways to build more efficient, trusting commercial networks among value chain actors, from producers to end market consumers.

Value chain upgrading requires that actors do something different, in other words, that they changebehavior. While there are many factors that influence behavior change, this framework focuses on four factors: the desire to change, the know-how, the conducive climate for change, and the rewards. These factors reveal differences in the behaviors of men and women in value chains. The relationship between these factors and the constraints or incentives to upgrade are noted throughout this document.



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