Rural women in Bolivia participate in small family farming sector with precarious conditions like limited access to productive assets and markets or low productivity. 77% of rural women engage in agriculture and livestock, which is one of the highest in Latin America. While rural Bolivia has undergone many transformations in the last decade, they are not changes aimed at sustainable or gender inclusive development. The contribution of women in agriculture continues to be invisible, it is often considered as unpaid help and not as paid work.
The main objective of the Inclusive Markets project Mercados inclusivos is to improve the living conditions and reduce the poverty of household farmers in the Andes who are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and food insecurity. The project works on increasing their opportunities, capacities and income with a particular focus on empowering women.
Rural women who regularly go to markets often sell their fruit product at a lower price so that they don’t have to carry the heavy wooden boxes back home. In order to introduce a new and lighter fruit packaging, the project conducted a consumer behavior study to understand the male and female perception of packaging and to decide on the appropriate marketing strategy.
The team identified companies who were interested in improving and adapting the packaging in order to make the boxes lighter for women to carry. The project also links producers to supermarkets, communal governments. The packaging is now more attractive to consumers who buy the boxes at supermarkets.
Moreover, the boxes are lighter in weight so women farmers can sell her fruit in practical boxes at profitable prices. For the rural women this means the redesigned box is sold at better prices at regular markets. Thus, women economic empowerment contributes to the economic and social wellbeing of households, businesses and communities.