International Association on Work in Agriculture’s Webinars

Transformations in food systems and agrifood value chains: how do work and employment come into play ?

Watch the Webinar to share the knowledge and current research on the place of work and employment in value chains and food systems transformations. Look at the presentation

The transformations of agri-food value chains and food systems, both in the North and in the South and in their North/South articulation, impact and question the dynamics of work and employment in agriculture and throughout the chain. Research on food systems and value chains addresses labor and employment issues in different ways. From a global perspective, it is mainly related to social standards and decent work. From a local perspective, other labor and employment issues are raised.

IAWA share current knowledge and research on following key question: how do strategies and mechanisms for transforming value chains and food systems address different labor and employment issues.



Introduction of the Webinar “Transformations in food systems and agrifood value chains: How do work and employment come into play?”

Benoit DEDIEU, President of the International Association on Work in Agriculture - IAWA

Work and employment within the transformations in value chains and food systems: what has research told us so far?

 Authors: Priscila DUARTE MALANSKI, Sandra SCHIAVI, State University of Maringa, Brazil

Abstract: Transformations in value chains and food systems have been of great interest of academics and practitioners. Global, upgraded and sustainable are common terms used to express value chains and food systems dynamics in literature. Nevertheless, there are other issues underneath, such as work and employment issues. Our purpose is to present the state of the art on agri-food value chain and its relation to work and employment. From scienciometric analyses on Scopus, Web of Science and Scielo databases, we open the discussion on the role of work and employment within the transformations of value chains and food systems, rising issues such as labor governance through social standards, employment and socioeconomic conditions in rural territories, and gendered labor.

Work and jobs in alternative food networks. The case of short food chains in North America.

Authors: Stevens AZIMA and Patrick MUNDLER, Laval University, Quebec

Abstract: Short food supply chains are associated with many social and environmental benefits. However, research on job quality in short food supply chains is rather scarce and raises many questions. Capitalizing on recent empirical studies conducted on the issue in the North American context, we situate the main findings of this research between job creation, but also volunteering and low labor productivity; between alternative discourses, job satisfaction and tolerance for precarious jobs; and finally, between gender-specific benefits and challenges.

The adoption of a skills ecosystem approach to transition South Africa’s food system to one which is just and resilient

Author: Nicola JENKIN, Pinpoint Sustainability /Centre for Researching Education & Labour (REAL), University of the Witwatersrand South Africa

Abstract: South Africa’s food system has many complex systemic challenges, such as actor size (sophisticated commercial to subsistence), a large formal and informal sector, power dynamics, access to and cost of nutritious food, infrastructural issues, food loss and waste, and water and energy insecurity. For the food system to transition to one that is just, resilient and sustainable it requires the appropriate occupations, knowledge and skills to do so. By adopting a skills systems approach, the skills supply and demand dynamics, within a region can ensure place-based implications on work are identified. A couple of regional case studies will be presented.

Fairer Trade and Decent Work in Agrifood Value Chains: standards, rights and gender

Author: Stephanie BARRIENTOS, The University of Manchester, United Kingdom

Abstract: Commercial pressures from large companies in agrifood global value chains (GVC) have long posed challenges for suppliers and workers in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Fairer and ethical trade initiatives aim to promote social standards and decent work in GVC. But the commercial context is rapidly changing through ‘de-globalisation’ and expansion of regional and domestic value chains. This presentation examines the implications for workers, particularly women who often play significant roles, drawing on examples from African horticulture. It asks whether gender equitable decent work is being undermined, or how it could be bolstered.


Sandra Contzen,  Bern University of Applied Sciences | BFH · School of Agriculture, Forest and Food Sciences, Switzerland


The participants of the Webinar expressed themselves during 1h30 by writing in mind map their ideas on 3 questions:

- What are the most interesting aspects of the presentations for you
- What is missing?
- What are the needs for future research?

Read the report of the discussions and the synthesis built from mind map on "What future research agenda?"

Modification date : 23 May 2023 | Publication date : 14 September 2022 | Redactor : Isabelle Avelange