How producer organizations help empower women

Empowering women by helping them become full and active members of FFPOs at all levels can help them be equal actors in transforming rural landscapes and economies.

©FAO/Sophie Grouwels


Women in rural area have seen the benefits of participating in forest and farm producer organizations (FFPOs), such as improving their ability to start businesses and sell their products, getting specialized training and accessing social and cultural services. Solidarity and mutual support that FFPOs can provide is vitally important during times of crises, especially for women who make up at least half of the 1.5 billion smallholder farmers and forest producers in the world who rely on forests for subsistence and income.

A new report published by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), Women’s empowerment though collective action: how forest and farm producer organizations can make a difference, explores how women’s access to social and cultural services allows them to participate in the economic and political life equally with men. The report examines different organizational structures and how FFPOs’ business models have successfully provided opportunities for entrepreneurship that facilitate women’s empowerment.

“FFPOs provide social and cultural services that respond to what people value,’’ says Jeffrey Campbell, Forest and Farm Facility Manager. For example, FFPOs provide village savings loans and associations, savings and credit cooperative societies, insurance services against crop failure, climate hazards or market volatilities, and childcare and healthcare services.‘’ Such services are rooted in systems that promote more inclusive value chains, build women’s capacity to manage their income, or are in line with their traditional cultural heritage,’’ he adds.

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