|(Photo: UN Photo/Ky Chung)|
Rural women and men produce and add value to goods that they trade in local and export markets either as farmers, wage workers or as processors or vendors along different value chains. However, they face difficulties accessing and competing in markets. Rural women often lack timely market information, face challenges in negotiating prices with buyers and have difficulty physically accessing markets due to limited transport opportunities and restrictions on their mobility.
UNCTAD fosters dialogue and consensus building on strategies for integrating gender considerations in macro-economic, including trade and agriculture, policies by paying special attention to the impacts of trade policy and trade liberalization on women as producers and as consumers of agricultural and food products. Within this framework, UNCTAD's activities focus on building productive capacities in developing and least developed countries to enable them to attract more investments, to upgrade technologically, to diversify their production and to better integrate into the world economy. By ensuring access to market and trade information and by developing innovative agricultural commodity financing instruments, UNCTAD supports producers to benefit from enhanced market opportunities.As manager of the IANGWE Task Force on Gender and Trade, UNCTAD led and coordinated the efforts of the Task Force for the drafting of a Resource Paper on Gender Equality and Trade Policy. In coordination with UN Country Offices, UNCTAD conducts country-case studies on mainstreaming gender in trade policy, including the linkages between agricultural production and trade liberalization. UN Women supports rural women's value chain development and their access to remunerative markets. UN Women also empowers rural women vendors to influence local market conditions through their engagement in dialogue mechanisms with local government authorities to influence decisions concerning market management, infrastructure and services. UNDP works with governments to facilitate access of rural women workers and entrepreneurs to new technologies, finance and capacity building by establishing "service delivery platforms". Around half of all IFAD-supported programmes and projects focus on strengthening marketing linkages and value chain development. FAO and IFAD collaborate on promoting institutional innovations that empower smallholder farmers and enhance food security. Enabling rural women producers to organize in order to influence markets, services and public-private partnerships and policies is a common objective of the two agencies.