Investing in Women along Agribusiness Value Chains

Nathalie Hoffmann and Alexa Roscoe
International Finance Corporation (IFC)

This report calls on the private sector to invest in closing gaps between men and women in agribusiness. It focuses on four different stages of a simplified value chain: (1) input provision and use; (2) production; (3) post-harvest processing and storage; and (4) transportation, marketing, and sales. At each value chain stage the report helps companies to identify potential benefits from closing gender gaps by reviewing women’s contributions and constraints within each stage, outlining gender-smart solutions for the private sector, demonstrating the business rationale for making gender-smart investments, and presenting best practice case studies.


Many of the labor, supply chain management, market access, or sustainability and performance challenges faced by agribusiness companies are, on closer inspection, revealed to be challenges associated with hidden gender gaps. This report summarizes and simplifies the extensive body of literature on value chain development and gender, presenting key entry points for agribusiness companies that want to close gaps between men and women. It describes how companies at all stages of the agribusiness value chain can solve these challenges by understanding and implementing gender-smart solutions, with a focus on companies working in smallholder-led value chains.This report is focused on the private sector, and importantly, it takes a holistic view, presenting the rationale for companies to invest in women at every stage.