Limits of the New Green Revolution for Africa: Reconceptualising gendered agricultural value chains

Heidi Gengenbach, Rachel A. Schurman, Thomas J. Bassett, William A. Munro, William G. Moseley

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


In order to address food insecurity, the New Green Revolution for Africa (GR4A) promotes tighter integration of African smallholder farmers, especially women, into formal markets via value chains to improve farmers’ input access and to encourage the sale of crop surpluses. This commentary offers a theoretical and practical critique of the GR4A model, drawing on early findings from a five-year study of value chain initiatives in Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, and Mozambique. It highlights the limitations of a model that views heightened market interactions as uniformly beneficial for smallholder farmers. We challenge the notion that there is a broadly similar and replicable process for the construction of markets and the development of gender-sensitive value chains in all recipient countries. Instead we build upon the feminist network political ecology and coproduction literatures to conceptualise value chains as complex assemblages co-produced by a broad set of actors, including socially differentiated farmers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)208-214
Number of pages7
JournalGeographical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Figure S1. A poster funded by the World Bank’s Agricultural Sector Support Project for Cote d’Ivoire suggests that when women obtain secure rights to land, the welfare of the entire household will improve. Source: T. Bassett.

Publisher Copyright:
The information, practices and views in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). © 2017 Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers).


  • gender
  • green revolution
  • value chains


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