Poverty, Gender, and Institutional Arrangements
4. Commercialization of Smallholder Horticultural Farming: Gender Roles and Implications for Household Well-being in Kenya
The shift by smallholders from traditional markets to more innovative and modernized food supply chains entail important gender implications (Maertens & Swinnen, 2009). The commercialization of agriculture is often associated with new production technologies, marketing opportunities, and profit increases, which may reduce the role of women even if they were the main contributors of farm production before the shift. This is evident from the findings of previous studies such as for rice production in Gambia (von Braun et al., 1994), groundnuts in Zambia (Wold, 1997), French beans in Kenya (Dolan, 2001), and leafy vegetables in Uganda (Shiundu & Oniang’o, 2007). Focusing on vegetables, the rapid emergence and spread of high-value modern supply chains may have profound implications over the control of resources in rural households. Women are mostly excluded from contracting with large horticultural firms for the delivery of high-value produce (Dolan, 2001; Maertens & Swinnen 2009). For example, Dolan (2001), demonstrate how the expansion of the European vegetable market changed the domain of women in the control of vegetable production, resulting in reduced control over land resources, income, and labour contributions to household subsistence. Men appropriated land and labour resources traditionally used by women to cultivate vegetables for subsistence use and for sale in domestic markets to participate in the production of export vegetables (Dolan, 2001).
These modern supply chains are expected to have...
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