Systèmes alimentaires

Cultivating Resilience: Empowering Female Pineapple Farmers and stakeholders in Suriname



Gender challenges in the Pineapple Value Chain in Suriname

Suriname is a small, multi-ethnic country in South America, renowned for its tropical rainforests that cover over 80% of its land. In and at the edge of its forests, the pineapple value chain is a century-old agricultural knowledge system that remains a vital source of income for many indigenous communities.

However, the gender roles embedded within this traditional agricultural knowledge have presented unique challenges for women in the industry, who are often relegated to spending time in the fields, while men are involved in financial decision-making and clearing pineapple plots.

To help pineapple farmers upgrade their production models, increase their revenue and address the gender disparities mentioned above, the Agrifood Systems Transformation Accelerator (ASTA) project was formulated with a strong focus on gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.

The project, that provides technical assistance, access to finance, and networking opportunities to pineapple stakeholders, also organizes capacity-building events with a gender lens. By empowering the female pineapple farmers, who are often marginalized and excluded from decision-making processes and market opportunities, ASTA seeks to create a more inclusive and sustainable pineapple value chain, where women have equal access to resources, information, and markets.

Training workshops conducted in February and March 2023

In February and March 2023, the ASTA project hosted a series of capacity-building trainings in Matta, Redi-Doti and Marowjine, aimed at enhancing farmer’s skills and knowledge of good pineapple production practices and conducted an inception workshop on Gender. The gender inception workshop was a timely and important step towards creating a more equitable and sustainable pineapple sector that benefits all stakeholders, especially women.

  1. Agronomic trainings on the production of Mountain Microorganism (MM)

The agronomic sessions were conducted by FAO's International Agronomist, Mr. Freddy Gamboa Quiros, with the support of Mr. Swami Girdhari, Pineapple Value Chain Coordinator, and Ms. Hemwatie Goeptar, National Agronomist. The trainers walked the farmers, young people, and local leaders from Moengo, Pierre Kondre, and Matta through the phases of producing organic liquid fertilizer using Mountain Microorganism (MMs). This included collection of soil that contain microorganisms from the forest and mixing them with other raw materials to create an energy and food source for the multiplication of microorganisms. The session was informative and practical, setting the farmers up for success. Ultimately, it should contribute to enhancing soil fertility and increasing the yield and quality of pineapples in the Para and Marowjine districts.

  2. Gender Capacity building/strengthening inception workshop

Following the agronomic Mountain Microorganism training, sessions facilitated by Ms. Astrid Runs, UNFPA Project Officer for the Joint project, and representatives from the Youth Advisory Group (Yag), Sjaenda Pita, Chathera Adrai, and Zdena Pelswijk, focused on the Gender Capacity Building Plan that will be implemented throughout the project's lifetime. 

The sessions provided participants with information about the different projects that the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is active in, including the ASTA and Leave No One Behind. UNFPA's mandate and the purpose of the upcoming Gender Capacity Building Plan's training and workshops were also covered.

The Gender Capacity Building Plan aims to increase community awareness of gender and gender equality, cultural identity in relation to spirituality, gender-based violence (GBV), Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA), Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), and participatory decision-making. The plan includes training sessions that will:

  1. Increase awareness of gender roles and gender equality among female and male farmers, young people, and local community leaders in relation to cultural identity and spirituality;
  2. Strengthen the capacities of community leaders and other stakeholders in leadership, collaboration/team building, communication, cooperation building, networking, lobbying, and conflict resolution;
  3. Improve the business knowledge and skills of foremost farmers and groups interested in starting a business.

To achieve these goals, UNFPA will provide training on business and basic financial-administrative skills, as well as coaching pathways as a steppingstone for female and male farmers and young people who are interested.

The inception workshop was highly participatory and provided a platform for women to network, share experiences, and voice their concerns and aspirations. The farmers recognized the necessity of the training by giving examples of problems and situations that arise in their community and provided tips on inclusion and the use of the participatory decision-making method for setting up the training days and mobilizing the various target groups. UNFPA and the ASTA project will roll out different training sessions until March 2026.

ASTA in Suriname

The four-year USD 2,2 million project titled Agrifood Systems Transformation Accelerator (ASTA) in Suriname is financed by the UN Joint SDG Fund, run by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Development Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and supported by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Launched in September 2022, under the patronage of His Excellency Chandrikapersad Santokhi, President of Suriname, and in the presence of the UN Resident Coordinator Ad Interim, Dr. Dennis Zulu, it brings together pineapple producers, processors, traders, input providers, government ministries, research institutes and financial institutions to upgrade the Surinamese pineapple value chain, through a programme that will benefit indigenous and other rural communities.


The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) intervention in the ASTA project in Suriname focuses on promoting gender equality and equity, leaving no one behind, and combating gender-based violence. To ensure that women and youth have equal access to the opportunities provided by the ASTA project, the UNFPA has adopted the Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) methodology and gender-responsive/transformative strategies. Through these approaches, the UNFPA is developing a community engagement strategy and capacity-building programs to empower women, youth, and other vulnerable groups in the pineapple value chain.

More information

Aimée Kourgansky, FAO Value Chain Development Consultant, [email protected]

Astrid Runs, UNFPA Project Officer, [email protected]