The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has officially launched its flagship VALUE4HER program in Ghana that seeks to increase the performance of women agrienterprises, through access to markets and trade, finance and investments, knowledge and skills, networking and building women’s collective voice.
VALUE4HER is powered by VALUE4HERConnect, Africa’s first women in agribusiness digital market place, offering integrated business solutions to women agrienterprises.
The platform seeks to expand women’s presence in markets where they trade, access new markets nationally, regionally and internationally, and acquire the capital, business and technical partners and resources required to support their growing businesses.
Themed “Facilitating dialogue to enhance Women participation in Agribusiness”, the hybrid event had in attendance the AGRA West African Regional Head, Foster Boateng, the Head of Gender and Inclusiveness at AGRA, Sabdiyo Dido, who joined via zoom from Nairobi and other representatives from various organizations as well as participants from across the African continent.
In her opening remarks, Sabdiyo Dido intimated that women play a critical role in the transformation agenda of the continent that is why AGRA instituted VALUE4HER for women in Agriculture and Agribusiness to assist them to become productive and allow them to come together to share and learn from one another.
The assistance, according to her, comes in the form of skills upgrade, capital/financial assistance and allowing them to access new technologies to help them grow their businesses.
She maintained that the program is essentially meant to amplify women’s voice in the Agriculture sector in Africa.
The Executive Director of Development Action Association, Lydia Sasu, bemoaned the low level of credit accessibility for women in Agribusiness explaining that only a meagre 10% of women can access credit facilities to fund their businesses.
Another issue of great concern is gender discrimination against women. This according to Lydia leads to a lack of investment in women in agribusiness and that aside from that problem, only a few women have access to lands in the country.
She wondered why “women take a lot of initiatives when there is a problem or when there is something to be done, we do it perfectly” yet they are marginalized.
The Country Manager of the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership, Nana Aisha Mohammad, underscored the need for increased technology in the agribusiness industry for women explaining that her organization is in talks with Vodafone to help bridge the technology gap experienced in the country by extending services to the rural communities.
She disclosed that in partnership with the private sector, some of their programs are tailored towards young women “by helping them to volunteer with private sector entities” to sharpen their skills through mentorship received from this volunteerism.
Other offers are their partnership with banks to offer financial support for young women in businesses and training women in businesses on branding and packaging to help them package their products properly to attract customers.
On her part, Paulina Addy, Director – WIAD urged women to form allies if they want to succeed and have their businesses registered to get support from the government.
She revealed that the government of Ghana in partnership with the Canadian government has put priority on women in the agribusiness sector and is to support women with equipment to aid their agriculture activities.
Foster Boateng called for partnership from the private sector, development partners and NGOs to help transform the African Agriculture’s sector.
“We need an inclusive approach so, therefore, women, youth, everybody must get involved. That is the reason why we felt that women’s voices are not being heard in the agricultural sector. You heard the statistics, 50% of women are in the value chain but they are being deprived of productive resources and that could exacerbate their vulnerability and poverty.
“So the idea here is to create a platform to bring women businesses voice so that they will be heard and policies that can enhance their operations can be adhered to,” he explained.
VALUE4HERConnect has four main key pillars;
- A Women2Women Community Pillar – this allows women to chat, interact, trade and share information.
- A Women2Market pillar includes but not limited to country profiles (including trade policies and regulations), buyer and supplier information, commodity prices, market-entry requirements (including standards/certification), branding, labelling, among others.
- A Women2Finance pillar seeks to provide information on agribusiness focusing on financiers, including banks, investment funds, development finance institutions, impact investors, crowdfunding etc.
- A Capacity Building Resource pillar showcases human capital development resources, including online and offline training and educational programs; webinar; skills development consultancies and incubators/accelerators.
So far 758 women-led agribusinesses have registered with an annual turnover ranging from USD 20,000 – USD 100,000 from 36 African countries.