Women comprise a substantial portion of the agricultural labor force in India but face significant difficulties accessing and retaining land rights, even when they inherit land from family. Despite laws, policies, and legal protections meant to empower women and safeguard their rights across the country, harmful gender norms often prevent women from fully benefiting from the products of the land they farm.
USAID’s Integrated Land and Resource Governance (ILRG) program supports USAID Missions to respond to the underlying land and property rights challenges that hamper other development efforts—like food security, economic growth, gender equality, and conflict prevention. With funding from the US Government’s Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Fund at USAID, ILRG implements a partnership with PepsiCo to promote women’s economic empowerment in the potato value chain in West Bengal, India by improving access to land, skills, and entrepreneurial opportunities. The partnership seeks to demonstrate how women’s empowerment leads to increased adoption of PepsiCo’s sustainable farming practices in West Bengal, resulting in improved potato yields and net profitability for rural farmers. Ultimately, the program seeks to demonstrate to farmers and the private sector that empowering women makes social and economic sense.
ILRG is working with PepsiCo staff, communities, and household-level actors to develop socially appropriate activities that address gender inequities and barriers in the potato supply chain:
ILRG Technical Assistance Model
The partnership will provide technical assistance in support of the following theory of change:
Technical assistance will be scaled up over time in pursuit of the following objectives:
- Impact farm-level outcomes by providing gender-responsive training in potato agronomy and sustainable farming practices, providing awards to early adopters of new practices, piloting land access for women’s groups, launching an empowerment training to increase personal agency and leadership, exploring land policy reform, and engaging women and men champions in households and communities to address harmful gender norms and gender-based violence;
- Strengthen PepsiCo’s internal capacity by integrating gender, women’s empowerment, and gender-based risks trainings and integrating gender considerations into existing PepsiCo training and performance monitoring tools; and
- Promote scale and sustainability by complementing PepsiCo’s mainstreaming efforts and coordinating actions with partner organizations and government initiatives.
The partnership provides a powerful way for PepsiCo to work with and utilize the expertise of USAID to promote women’s economic empowerment in the potato value chain in West Bengal, with scope for replication and scaling across its agricultural operations in India and globally. As such, the partnership is using a collaborating, learning, and adapting approach to pilot, adjust, and finalize pathways to scale. Monitoring, evaluation, and learning will provide data that supports the business case for strengthening women rights and access to land, trainings, and resources in the potato value chain in India.