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Online network links women agri-preneurs to opportunities

By Smart Farmer

More than 400 women have signed up on Africa’s first online platform for female agripreneurs. 

The platform dubbed, 'VALUE4HERConnect', seeks to help female agripreneurs connect, network and grow their businesses.

The idea is to empower women in agriculture economically given that they face several odds despite the critical role they play in the agricultural sector. Though accounting for 40 per cent of the agricultural workforce worldwide, women’s participation in agribusiness is often limited to low-profit production.

“While women are key players in agriculture, they often face challenges at the business end,” noted Sabdiyo Dido Bashuna, the senior programme coordinator, Value Chains and Agribusiness during launch of the project in Nairobi.

She said with this project, women will now have access to buyers, market information and intelligence, investment and capacity building opportunities, which will ultimately help them form strategic partnerships to access global markets for more income.

The platform includes a Women2Women Community forum to enable them to interact, trade, and share information, including country profiles, trade policies, and market entry requirements. 

Bashuna said the project will also help to bring women entrepreneurs in agriculture together in a virtual community, serve as an important business resource for members, and provide information on financing and opportunities for training.

The event was jointly organised by the African Women Agribusiness Network (AWAN), and the Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum under the theme, “Enhancing women inclusion in agribusiness”.

During the two-day event, women agripreneurs from 21 African countries gathered for masterclasses, and hackathons, and to pitch for opportunities, showcase their businesses and try to secure regional and global business deals.

Ms Beatrice Gakuba, the executive director of AWAN, said: “Today, we have this opportunity to accelerate the manufacture and intra-African trade of value-added products, moving from commodity-based economies and exports to economic diversification and high-value exports. The demand is high.”

Gakuba said the platform will further bridge the data and information gap and boost the connection of women to intra-African opportunities, finance, and markets.

Women make up a significant portion of the agricultural labour force, constituting an average of 43 percent in developing countries; making up approximately 50 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa. However these farmers are often faced with challenges when trying to access the agricultural market.  

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