The Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has listed growth and development of women owned agribusiness enterprises in Africa as fruits of creating Value4Her platform.
The platform brings women-owned agribusinesses together and supports to expand women’s presence in the market, improve market access, acquire capital, knowledge, skills, networking and global advocacy to help mitigate the key barriers for women empowerment in agriculture.
At a webinar to mark the International Women’s month, with the topic: “Facilitating dialogue among women agribusiness leaders, government, and development partners, the Nigeria Country Manager for AGRA, Dr. Kehinde Makinde, who emphasised the significance of the initiative, said there are lots of potential that have not been harnessed, adding that more responsibilities should be given to women.
In her welcome address, Vice President — Strategic Partnership, AGRA, Vanessa Adams, said when AGRA focused on women and strategy two years ago, they concentrated on the gaps in each country across Africa to look and speak directly from the direct constraints.
While she identified three key issues around agribusiness-the effect of a COVID-19 pandemic – opportunities, financing capital, as well as the lack of confidence among women entrepreneurs, women farmers in decision making, in their networks, among others, Adams said AGRA will launch key opportunities this year –an online training targeted to increase financing literacy and the capacity of women entrepreneurs.
She said: “It will provide a direct network for at least a thousand women entrepreneurs across Africa.”
Highlighting the second opportunity to be launched by AGRA, Adams stressed the devastating impact of COVID-19 and its influence on accessing funds for climate and food system support.
In her presentation, the Head of Gender and Inclusiveness, Value4Her Manager, AGRA, Sabdiyo Dido, underscored the need to strengthen women and businesses.“Value4Her is looking for how to strengthen women businesses, how can we assist more women to get into entrepreneurship? How can we bring women to benefit more from agriculture?”
She listed market failure, finance and resources, general/social limitations and connection with the growing market as some of the constraints of a growing business, adding that the initiative is centered on advocacy.
Dido called on other women companies and partners to bring the resources required to many women entrepreneurs and join the programme that is speaking to the needs of women.
Deputy Director, Irrigation and Agricultural Development, Federal Department of Agriculture (FMARD), Mrs. Sugra Mahmood, who doubles as Head of Gender, at the ministry, in her keynote address, canvassed access to technology everywhere, which she described as solution to empower SME’s in remote regions in the north.
“Women are central to agriculture as over 70 per cent of women are into agriculture in Nigeria. The SDG 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 9 are areas to focus on, as women agriprenuers are challenged by lack of technology, infrastructure and marketing access.
Highlight of the launch was the two panel sessions where key barriers affecting women empowerment in agriculture were discussed and how to expand the market place for women through strong networks and the necessary support they need as women.