Systemic Analysis of Value Chains and Implications for Intervention



Brenda Boonabaana, Makerere University, Uganda
Anusha De, LICOS –KU Leuven, Belgium

Gendered perceptions in Maize supply chains: Evidence from Uganda
Faced with imperfect information, economic actors use judgment and perceptions in decision-making. Inaccurate perceptions or false beliefs may result in inefficient value chains and systematic bias in perceptions may affect inclusiveness. In this paper, we study perceptions in Ugandan maize supply chains. A random sample of maize farmers was asked to rate other value chain actors—agro-input dealers, assembly traders and maize millers—on a set of important attributes such as service quality, price competitiveness, ease of access, and overall reputation. These other value chain actors are tracked and asked to assess themselves on the same attributes. We find that input dealers, traders and millers assess themselves more favourably than farmers do. We also zoom in on heterogeneity in perceptions related to gender and find that women rate higher than men. The sex of the actor being rated does not affect the rating.


Devis Fabian Mwakanyamale, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)

Barriers and opportunities to women’s participation in the commercialized cassava seed system in Tanzania
Inclusive agribusiness models can create opportunities for smallholders to increase their income and achieve broader development outcomes. Inclusiveness, however, requires that interventions to commercialize agri-food value chains consider both technical constraints and social barriers to gender equitable participation. This study’s objectives were to identify barriers that constrain women’s entry into the commercialized cassava seed system and examine gender differences in farmers’ experiences as Cassava Seed Entrepreneurs (CSEs). The study was conducted in Tanzania in 2021. Quantitative data were collected from 218 CSEs and 80 farmers who did not meet the selection criteria to become a CSE. Qualitative data were collected from 30 CSEs with varying levels of success running their businesses and from 13 extension officers who provided support to CSEs. Results show how women’s limited access to productive resources restricts their chances of becoming CSEs. Women CSEs on average own smaller land holdings and a greater proportion are asset poor compared to men CSEs. Women CSEs also face challenges when accessing capital, land, and labor to run their businesses. Qualitative findings illustrate how discriminatory gender norms within households and communities create additional barriers for women’s success as CSEs. Nonetheless, results also demonstrate how, with a supportive home environment and increased access to capital, land, training, and group membership, opportunities offered through the commercialized model can increase women’s income and strengthen their enterprises. Results suggest that a gender-transformative approach that integrates both technical and social innovations is necessary for an inclusive, integrated seed production model and for women’s increased empowerment.


Mukani Moyo, Nozomi Kawarazuka, and Srinivasulu Rajendran, International Potato Center (CIP)

Gender and informal markets: disseminating nutrition-rich sweetpotato bread to low-income populations
Orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) puree-based bread has been successfully integrated into the urban formal food system, being sold at bakeries and supermarkets. While its main purpose is to create more vitamin A-rich food options for the poor, consumers in the formal food system are mostly better-off. Therefore, to reach poor consumers, it is critical to develop new markets within the informal food system. However, this system is extremely complex and highly gendered with dynamic and diverse interactions among value-chain actors. Furthermore, there is limited investment in storage facilities, compromising food quality and safety. Understanding the informal food system is therefore a first step to developing new markets for the poor. In this presentation, we demonstrate the results of our recent study on understanding potential opportunities, needs and constraints in the informal food system for disseminating OFSP puree-based baked and fried products to both urban and rural poor people in Kenya. The interdisciplinary study was designed by combining the aspects of food sciences, anthropology and economics with a strong focus on gender and intersectionality. Qualitative and quantitative methods were employed to explore value chain actors and characteristics of informal systems, especially their relationships, perceptions and everyday practices. The findings suggest that the informal food system has a great potential for new markets, as it acts as a hub for social interactions, information sharing and reciprocal support. We conclude by highlighting the importance of interdisciplinary research that provides comprehensive recommendations towards equitable and inclusive scaling.


Rahma Adam, WorldFish

A gendered aquaculture value chain analysis in northwestern Bangladesh
The aim of this value chain study was to generate a knowledge base to inform Aquaculture: Increasing Income, Diversifying Diets and Empowering Women in Bangladesh and Nigeria (IDEA) project interventions as well as provide broad baseline information regarding chain composition and both social (including gender) and economic performance. The study applied a bespoke conceptual framework that aims to enable empirical understanding of aquaculture value chains that not only “counts” where women and men are, but rather brings together functionaland economic value chain analysis with gender analysis thinking, informed by theory and current practice. It also used a mixed-methods approach to answer research questions related to the composition, functioning, performance and inclusiveness of the aquaculture value chain. Women and men both engage in paid and unpaid fish production roles, but women are not recognized by male household members as fish farmers. No women were found as intermediaries and retailers, or as hired labor for those businesses. However, they do contribute unpaid household labor to their husband’s business. Women have less decision-making power at all levels. Finances were identified as a key constraint to upgrading, which limits farmers of all genders besides those of higher socioeconomic status, while access to quality inputs and training were identified as barriers for all farmers. Some of the action points, include the application of Gender Transformative Approaches (GTA) to address constraining gender norms and attitudes in the households; and leveraging greater access to ponds and control by women over financial assets.