Pineapple is a dynamic value chain in Benin that attracts investments from various stakeholders. Small-scale farmers produce the majority of the crop and most of them are men. Although women play an important role in agriculture overall and often manage their own fields, few of them cultivate pineapple on their fields. They face several specific, gender-related constraints preventing their involvement in this productive activity, including liquidity constraints, problems with the planification of activities over the course of the 18 months production cycle, bookkeeping or competing demands on their time. Exploratory field work reveals that husbands’ support is a crucial determinant of women’s success in this activity. A husband may offer financial support or help in monitoring workers for example. This raises the following questions: Is this support offering a (second-best) substitute for access to financial market or training or is it rather a complement (or a necessary condition) for a woman’s investment in this productive activity? What are the costs of seeking one husband’s help for one’s own business? Why are some husbands reluctant in offering this support? May this support be stimulated by an exogenous intervention?
We investigate these questions taking advantage from an intervention set up by the Belgian Development Agency (Enabel) in order to encourage women involvement in pineapple production. It includes a business training and a generous subsidy for women to start or to expand a pineapple production. With a view to stimulate husbands’ support, in some groups, husbands have been invited to take part in the training and design, with their wife, an action plan for her pineapple production.