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Liberalisation, gender and livelihoods: the cashew nut case. Working Paper 3

Globalisation processes and economic liberalisation are leading to fundamental changes in the livelihood sources of different groups all over the world. This report forms part of a research project on the cashew sector in India and Mozambique. The project is responding to a policy concern that more empirical work is needed to understand the effects of trade liberalisation on poverty and gender equality and to identify approaches which enhance the livelihoods of disadvantaged groups. Liberalisation has been accompanied by the evolution of cashew processing activities from factory to non-factory or ‘cottage’ and commission-based processing. Labour standards and working conditions seem to be deteriorating, particularly for women, who represent the overwhelming majority of workers. In Kerala, the hub of the cashew industry in India, most public sector factories have closed and in private factories, employers have ‘seasonalised’ and ‘informalised’ workers. Gender-based inequalities mean that women work for even lower wages than men in poor and health-threatening environments.

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