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Gender Transformative and Responsible Agribusiness Investments in South East Asia (GRAISEA)

Shrimp farmers Nguyen Van Bap and Trinh Thi Phuong participated in a GRAISEA training on shrimp production that allowed them to improve their farming practices. (Credit: Lisa Murray)

At a glance

Improving the livelihoods of small-scale producer.s in the agriculture sector in Asia through inclusive value chains and responsible business practices

Overview

Working in Cambodia, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Vietnam, GRAISEA utilises various partner models at multiple levels to tackle the root causes of poverty and support system-wide change. Currently in its second phase, GRAISEA supports the development of agricultural value chains that provide opportunities for women's economic empowerment, integrate human rights, and promote improved resilience to climate change.

We work with farmers, producer groups, local companies, national governments, multi-national corporations, and with the regional economic block ASEAN. GRAISEA also supports the capacity development of producer organisations, promotes women's leadership and changes to social norms, brings about direct change to the practice of companies, and promotes national and regional policy change.

Our work is funded by the Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok and private sector companies involved in the relevant value chains.

Approaches

GRAISEA operates across multiple levels-from the farm to regional policy - and with a variety of actors including cooperatives, civil society organisations, small and large companies, regional ASEAN institutions, and multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSI). Our critical approaches include:

  • Producer group development: Producer groups in the rice and shrimp value chains are strengthened so that producers have more voice and influence, are better able to engage with markets, adopt practices that support sustainable production and meet quality standards, support women's leadership, and engage in policy dialogues.
  • Companies: We partner with small, medium, and large companies in the rice and shrimp value chains to develop business practices that provide fairer opportunities and increased incomes for farmers, support climate resilience, and promote women's economic empowerment. We will explore how companies can do more to support women's economic empowerment by promoting progressive social norms.
  • Multi-stakeholder platforms: MSIs such as the Sustainable Rice Platform provide a means to influence large number of companies. We generate learning that helps these platforms improve the standards and guidelines that they promote, increasing the impact of the programme.
  • Policy change: Our programme learning contributes to national and regional policy influencing that aims to create an enabling environment for business practise that is inclusive, responsible, and supports climate resilience and women's economic empowerment. Our specific policy targets include frameworks for business and human rights, agriculture sector policy, and SDG policy frameworks that support inclusive business models.

Outcomes

The second phase of GRAISEA builds on several notable successes of the first. Such as the:

  • Successful promotion of inclusive and responsible business practices to over 250 global, regional, and national companies.
  • Development of fairer, more transparent smallholder contract arrangements through partnerships with companies in the rice, shrimp, and pam oil sectors.
  • Increased visibility of women in value chains, producer groups, large companies and SMEs.
  • Influenced gender and women rights criteria in the sustainable rice cultivation standard of the Sustainable Rice Platform, group certification guidelines produced by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, and the smallholder policy of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.

GRAISEA works to directly increase the incomes and resilience of smallholder farmers in the shrimp and rice value chains, but it aims to do this not simply by directly supporting farmers but by re-shaping the market system, so that change is embedded and large in scale. The market system being developed in the programme is one in which:

  • Women are recognised and supported, and social norms promote women's leadership and opportunity.
  • Producers (both men and women) are practicing sustainable production, securing markets, and seeing increased income.
  • Producers are effectively organised so that they can support each other, engage effectively with market actors, access support to improve production, and access inputs and sell crops on fair terms.
  • Governments, civil society, and the private sector are adopting and supporting sustainable production that meets the demands of an expanding market segment.
  • Private sector companies are driving change, demonstrating how improved inclusive business practices can be embedded in their operations and championing this across the region
  • MSIs are promoting guidance and standards that make change possible.
  • Policy supports this change at national and regional levels.  

GRAISEA in Cambodia

Changing Cambodia’s business landscape through multi-stakeholder collaboration

GRAISEA in the Philippines

The plight of banana farmers in the Philippines