Household-microenterprise – the missing link in gendered value chain analysis: lessons from an analysis of dairy chains in Nicaragua
In Nicaragua, gender analysis in value chains is usually restricted to a study of men and women as producers or workers within the chain itself. This overlooks many relevant dimensions of gender struggles. We therefore propose a gender analysis in value chains that pays attention to the interrelation of the value chain with intra-household dynamics in microenterprises and the broader community. We apply our approach to two dairy chains, not to compare which is better for women producers but to show the gender complexity in both that needs to be considered in value chain analyses. Based on case studies, we identify gender differentiation overlapping with conflictual-cooperative relations between men and women within the sphere of economic and family relations in the two dairy chains.
Within the context of a buoyant cattle sector in Nicaragua, industrial upgrading of the dairy value chain is widely considered as a positive contribution to growth and equity. That view, however, is based on a genderblind assessment of value chain dynamics. This article presents a gendered analysis of two dairy value chains in Nicaragua. The first is a more locally oriented, urban-based, semi-industrial chain with ample participation of small-scale family businesses; the second an export-oriented, upgraded industrial chain, where associative enterprises are the main players. Our analysis shows that industrial upgrading comes at the cost of reduced female participation. Remedial action to counteract this gender bias is required.