Gender Sensitive Value Chains

Advocates of women’s economic empowerment in the Pacific engaged in a lively learning event featuring value chains of kava, ginger and horticulture at POETCom and the Pacific Community (SPC) Offices Land Resources Division premises in Narere, Fiji on June 28.
Focussing discussions in value chains involving women in the Pacific creates awareness on gender inequality and addresses it.

This is the second in a series of such discussions that organisers, the Australian Government funded the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development Programme calls the Women’s Economic Empowerment Thematic Discussion group.
The event also marked positive beginnings in a relationship between the Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community (POETCom) with Pacific Women to implement a four year project in the North Pacific countries of Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Marshall Islands and Palau to assist women to earn an income through value added organic agriculture.
Lessons from the Vanuatu Kava value chain analysis conducted by the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Program (PHAMA) that looked at entry points for women in the kava value chain and a guideline on value chain development set by the Food and Agricultural Organisation were basic knowledge blocks to build on. Further information from the arts sector (handcraft/heritage arts) cemented learning.
Participants divided into groups discussing the workshop topics; handcrafts/heritage arts Terms of Reference, Floriculture Value Chain and a Ginger Value Chain. They were guided by a set of questions. These include ‘steps in the value chains’, ‘entry points for women,’ ‘what support women needed to be successful in the value chain,’ and ‘what’s necessary for women’s strategic gender needs to be progressed in the value chain.’

In focusing on these value chains, participants identified the steps in each value chain, the entry points for women, the support they need to be successful in the value chain, necessary aspects of their gender need in order to progress in the value chain and so forth.
For example, the Floriculture Value Chain highlighted the need for technical information support in planting flowers and the challenges of safety, security of land tenure and access to land and resources.
At the end of the day, participants agreed on the need to take gender value chain issues to a broader audience to focus more attention on them and especially influence policy makers and policy.

The workshop gathered main issues for further discussions, peered into value chains but a more intensive analysis of gender value chains in the Pacific requires more workshops and discussions that will be facilitated in such future learning events Pacific Women has planned.
The Pacific Women’s Programme works to improve the social, political and economic opportunities of Pacific women.