Empowering Mountain Women through Community-Based High Value Product Value Chain Promotion in Nepal (2015)

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Women account for more than 70% of the worlds poor, and many depend for their livelihoods on subsistence agriculture and forest products such as non-timber forest products (NTFPs) and medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs). However, in mountain areas it is particularly difficult for local people, and especially women, to access markets and obtain a fair share of the value of products they collect or produce. In Nepal, the level of inequality has increased, with the incidence of poverty becoming greater among lower caste people, ethnic minorities, and women, despite an overall decline in poverty. Using the experience from action research projects on value chain promotion of honeybees and bay leaf, this paper describes how value chain promotion of high value products can promote gender equity and empowerment of women entrepreneurs by facilitating community-based enterprise development. The community-based enterprise development approach is crucial to ensuring income generation and inclusive development; it includes making market information available to both men and women, building local capacity, incorporating sustainable management and harvesting techniques, building alliances of poor producers to promote collective bargaining with traders, and linkages with external service providers. Gender sensitive community-based enterprises with multi-stakeholder involvement can lead to increased income through recognizing the contribution made by both women and men; increased access to information and resources by poor women producers; sustainable management of the resources; womens empowerment through changes in traditional gender roles; and increased resilience and social capital for both men and women, and greater social capital for poor producers to cope with changing contexts including climate change. The paper identifies challenges to the institutionalization of the community-based enterprise development approach, which is needed to maintaining functional alliances and linkages among the producers, traders, and processing companies, and to increase womens control over the productive resources
Year: 2015
Language: English
In: International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology, 11 (3/4): 330-345 p.

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