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Agricultural transformation and Gender considerations in Caribbean Economics

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Corporate author:
  • NU. CEPAL. Sede Subregional para el Caribe
UN symbol.: LC/CAR/R.85 65 p. : ill. December 2005


The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of the gender and social disparities existing in the
agricultural and rural sector in Caribbean economies. In this context, agricultural transformation as
occasioned by the dismantling of preferential trading arrangements is analysed to identify the most
relevant gender discriminatory measures in the current agricultural development policy and
programmes. The analysis seeks to provide the basis for enhancing understanding among policy
makers, planners and rural development practitioners of the gender and social dimension involved
in the formulation of agricultural policy and more specifically in relation to the new policy and
institutional arrangements for agriculture in the region. The paper also provides insights regarding
what changes should take place to create an enabling environment for more gender-based
approaches to policy-making and strategic planning in agricultural development and trade in the
The methodology centred on the review of secondary sources that provide references on the new
challenges, opportunities and constraints faced by the agricultural sector, in particular small
farmers, in the context of globalization and agriculture transformation. Much of the literature for
this assignment was obtained from FAO Headquarters in Rome and the FAO Subregional Office in
Barbados, as well as the OECS Secretariat in St. Lucia. In the process of the review exercise, due
consideration was given to changes in agricultural production patterns, resources allocation and
rural livelihoods. Efforts to examine the most relevant policy measures and mechanisms in-place
in support to agricultural development in the region were constrained, in the main, by the absence
of gender disaggregated data. Documentation as regards the situation of women and men in
relation to agricultural labour, rural income and food security situation in regions were limited.
The use of the internet served to bridge the communication gap between countries and institutions.
The preliminary draft of the paper was presented and discussed at the FAO/ECLAC/UNIFEM
regional workshop on mainstreaming gender analysis in agriculture and trade policies, for
Caribbean countries, in November 2003. The second draft of the paper was informed by
comments from the workshop and additional information acquired through field visits to Barbados,
St. Kitts and St. Vincent in March 2004. The three day visits to each of these three countries
entailed a review/appreciation of the resource, constraints and institutional capacities for gender
mainstreaming within the agricultural sector at the national level. This included visits to some of
the major agricultural projects and interviews with farmers (where feasible) in respect of their
perspective of the current situation of the agricultural sector and the viability of their farm
enterprises. As well, meetings were held with relevant/available officials within the respective
ministries of agriculture to discern the gender consideration as regards agricultural policy and
planning at the country level.
The internet was invaluable to the task of sourcing supplementary information to satisfy the aim of
the paper; in respect of the identification of concrete policy measures and actions to formulate and
develop more gender/social-responsive agricultural development policies. The final revision,
though thwart with resource and communication constraints, was ultimately completed in
compliance with the structure and approach proposed in the terms of references for this
FAO/ECLAC assignment.

Table of contents

1. Introduction.--2. Overview of the Agricultural Sector.--3. Social and Gender Imbalances.--4. Impact of Agricultural Trade Policies and Strategies.--5. Institutional and Intellectual Gaps.--6. Integrating Gender into Agricultural Policy and Action.--7. Conclusions and Recommendations.

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