The paper analyses the role of "reproductive labour", and particularly of sexual labour, in relation to global agro-industrial commodity chains, with specific reference to the district of Foggia, in southeastern Italy. Drawing on a critical appraisal of world-system theory through the lens of gender, the article looks at different arrangements in the sexual division of labour and in (transnational) household management. In particular, it contrasts the organisation of West-African shantytowns to eastern-European settlements. The paper also points to the potential for non-commodified forms of care labour to foster solidarity among workers and support their struggles for better working and living conditions, which however are usually blind to the gendered dimensions of exploitation. Given this ambivalence of care labour, as both a form of exploitation and as a potentially subversive practice, and the importance of acknowledging the interrelation between global care chains and the production of agricultural commodities, the article suggests it is more appropriate to speak of "care-commodity chains". The article also argues that such relationships and ambivalences question any straightforward distinction between "productive" and "reproductive" spheres.
Keywords: Reproductive labour, sexuality, agribusiness, global commodity chains