Modern agri‐food systems, horticultural employment and women’s empowerment
This working paper (PDF) by the University of Göttingen addresses the question of female empowerment through horticultural employment. The transformation of global agri-food systems has led to the increased establishment of export-oriented horticultural plantations in developing countries. These labor intense production sites are associated with feminized employment patterns for the delicate handling of fruits and vegetables and therefore provide employment opportunities for women in rural areas. However, the social implications of these developments for women workers’ roles in their households remain hardly understood. This study addresses this research gap by assessing a wide range of indicators reflecting women’s empowerment. Primary survey data of 422 married households in Ghana, living in areas of large-scale pineapple plantations are used. Results show that large‐scale, export‐oriented horticultural plantations can contribute to women’s empowerment through horticultural employment. It is found that female horticultural wage workers contribute a major share to the household’s income, are more mobile, have better control over assets and reduced responsibilities in household chores. Women workers also report having more input into household decision-making; they have more say regarding major expenditures, household food and cash crop production as well as wage labor activities. Ultimately, the results of the study emphasize that employment effects are important to consider when analyzing the implications of modernization of agriculture and increased high‐value exports. Employment opportunities for income generation and empowerment should be reflected in the context of pro‐poor development strategies.