SP10: Gender Order: Embedding gender in horticultural value chains to close or reduce the productivity gap


In East Africa women significantly contribute to horticultural production; they are particularly involved in cultivating, reaping, selling and preparing African indigenous vegetables (AIVs). There is a trend of accelerating commercialization of vegetable production, which comes along with value chain innovation and modernization. The global value chain scholarship emphasizes the importance of value chain modernization and upgrading for reducing poverty in rural areas. The overall effects of value chain modernization, however, have to be critically assessed from a gender perspective: On the one hand women get increasingly integrated into this commercialized vegetable production. But on the other hand – due to existing gender norms and power relations within the society – there is a risk of deepening gender gaps and inequalities throughout the supply chain. Growing gender asymmetries in workload, income distribution and decision-making have to be taken into account, as women – besides their knowledge on cultivation and their contribution to vegetable production – are mainly responsible for social reproduction and food security at household and community level. Thus, the risk that supply chain modernization negatively affects social reproduction and sustainable local livelihoods has to be avoided.


This subproject intends to integrate a comprehensive gender approach into value chain analysis in order to fully understand the effects of commercialization and AIV value chain modernization on food security and local livelihoods in Kenya. Drawing on the concept of “social embeddedness” (Granovetter 1985; Hinrichs 2000) we argue that social relations in general and gender relations in particular influence horticultural production, post-harvest processes and marketing and vice versa. Thus, this subproject examines the changes in local gender arrangements in the course of value chain modernization and the repercussions of such changes on value chain processes.

The subproject applies different techniques of gender analysis (i.e. Socio-Economicand Gender Analysis – SEAGA; Ecology-Community and Gender – ECOGEN) in combination with a human-ecological approach for analyzing the development of gender gaps as an effect of innovations in terms of distribution of workload, income and power.

This project aims at

  • developing and integrating research methods of participatory gender analysis in horticultural value chain analysis within the regional context,
  • obtaining knowledge about the gendered division of labour throughout the AIV value chain in urban and peri-urban areas,
  • analyzing gender gaps and inequalities in the AIV value chain and assessing the gendered effects of value chain modernization and
  • generating recommendations for reducing the gender productivity gap and thereby improving the interdisciplinary work within the whole project.

Project partners

Cooperation with other subprojects or third parties

  • Universities
  • Development Agencies