In this section, you may find new materials that have been published on the topic of “Women entrepreneurs – key players in ACP agribusiness development”, since the date of the event. We continually select major new publications and articles that add up to the policy points discussed in this briefing.

First Online Network For Women Entrepreneurs In Agribusiness Launched; 17/06/2019

Despite accounting for 40 percent of the agricultural workforce worldwide, women’s participation in agribusiness is often limited to low-profit production. However, female agripreneurs across Africa will now be able to connect, network and grow their businesses thanks to the new VALUE4HERConnect platform. More than 400 women have signed up to Africa’s first online platform for female agripreneurs that will bring together those in agriculture in a virtual community and serve as an important business resource for members. The network, launched by African Women Agribusiness Network Afrika (AWAN-Afrika) is the first continental conference and VALUE4HER fair that is happening in Nairobi, as part of a programme led by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation to empower women in agriculture.

Nigerian female entrepreneur passionate about agriculture; 11/01/2019

She discovered her interest and an opportunity in the agriculture industry during farm activities supervision work that she was part of in Northern part of Nigeria a few years back. Entrepreneur, Bose Idowu (35) the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Gracevine Agribusiness has never looked back ever since. She employs four permanent staff and six casual farm and factory staff who are hired whenever there is need. Her company produces Yam flour, Plantain flour, Cleaned Beans, Beans Flour. “I grabbed the opportunity by buying cowpea or beans which are kept over a period of time which was sold back to the same local market after a period of time at higher price,” she said. Idowu graduated from the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB) with a BSc in Animal Science and an MBA in Agribusiness. She later joined the IITA Youth Agripreneurs (IYA) program in 2012 as part of the Cereals and Legumes team, where she was trained in cultivation and farm management on farms in northern Nigeria. “I cultivated the habit of saving half of my stipend monthly which was the money I started with ₦500, 000,” she told African Daily Voice.

‘Food is a great unifier,’ believes leading agri-preneur, 09/01/2019

While other learners in her grade 11 secondary school year responded with unsurprising answers to questions posed by a teacher about their career ambitions, Sipamandla Manqele, just a slip of a girl, boldly stood up, emphatically stating, “I want to be the first woman Governor of the Reserve Bank!” She laughs about the audaciousness of her early youth now, but the will and drive to contribute on a large scale to the economic development of South Africa at the heart of her statement echoes throughout our conversation about her business, Local Village, which supplies granola, African grain, African super-foods and gluten free grain to major restaurants and hotels across Johannesburg.  To be sure, Jozi-based Manqele’s business – currently home-based and self-run – is not an unripe practice based on lofty, ungrounded principles. It’s a lived, rigorously applied philosophy. It breathes beyond national borders and is located firmly in the ideals of her Pan-Africanist world view. Raised by a single mother in the poverty-stricken town of Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape, a young Manqele wondered why, with so much land and natural resources at their disposal, so many of her neighbours lived in such dire conditions. How could so many possibilities for wealth-creation remain untapped? Her curiosity grew into a spread of enquiries which included concerns beyond our borders. As her consciousness expanded, so did her approach to business.

A Rwandan entrepreneur on turning pumpkins into profit, 07/01/2019

For many years, pumpkin was regarded as one of the less important crops in Rwanda. To change this mindset, Marie Ange Mukagahima began extensive research on pumpkin processing to see how more value could be added to the product beyond making soup – which is basically what most people use pumpkin for in the country. The result is Zima Enterprise, a pumpkin processing company that makes pastries, flour, roasted seeds and seed oil, founded in 2016.  Growing up in Muhanga, Mukagahima knew that while lots of pumpkins are grown in her community, the crop has low consuming and purchasing power, and is often considered “women food”. “Farmers do not really make much profit from the product,” says Mukagahima. As a young girl, she wondered why pumpkin was seen as an inferior crop despite its nutritional value as well as its medicinal powers against deadly non-transmitted diseases like diabetes and prostate cancer. Curious about what value could be added to pumpkin, Mukagahima began research on pumpkins and found out how nutritious they are and how many people need them for their health. This was due to the crop being rich in dietary fibres, vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants, and it also does not increase cholesterol levels. “I thought of how pumpkins could be processed into pastries, how it could help farmers and provide jobs to the unemployed while generating profit for me,” Mukagahima recalls.

South African female farmer set-up beetroot plant, 03/01/2019

A South African woman has expressed gratitude after successfully setting-up a beetroot plant, a first of its kind in the Limpopo province. Trading under the name, TM Foods, the Tryphina Mosomane led company started the business in 2016 when she was experiencing a turbulent time in her financial and emotional development. “I am glad that after a long struggle we are finally realizing the dreams of hard work,” said TM Foods, CEO, Mosomane. “Having faced several challenges of work space jumping from garage to we struggled to get TM Foods off the ground. We were renting out garages from house to house trying to land business space for the company until we landed a space at Kings Complex in Seshego. This is where have managed to open a plant that caters for all beetroot lovers.” The birth of the beetroot plant is a result of realising the popularity of the beetroot salad in the country. “We offer a range of six beetroot flavors which we make ourselves. We offer a wide variety of beetroot flavours from garlic, hot, chutney, plain, ginger and cinnamon. The ingredients infused in the beetroot have great health benefits so our clients can be guaranteed that they gain more than just satisfying their love for the beetroot salad but also help to enhance their immune systems,” stated Mosomane.

Women in African Agriculture: Integrating Women into Value Chains to Build a Stronger Sector, 2018

Women are under-acknowledged participants in Africa’s agriculture and food sector, supplying a large share of the labour, but facing significant obstacles, including unequal access to land, traditional division of labour, restrictions on mobility, unequal educational attainment, financial exclusion, and gender norms. As a result, women are being constrained to lower productivity jobs and earning less than men. Their underrepresentation persists all along agricultural value chains. These inequalities translate into lower welfare outcomes for women in addition to inefficient productivity gaps with negative consequences for food security on the continent. Technical and institutional innovations in agricultural value chains must therefore be developed and implemented in a way that considers the particular constraints faced by women in agriculture in order to be fully effective and to avoid further solidifying gender roles and gaps. These could include suitable labour-saving technologies, financial innovations, mechanisms for collective action, and an improved access for women to extension services.

A Chadian entrepreneur who believes in female empowerment, 28/12/2018

Although Chad, a poor, landlocked country in the Sahel region of Africa, has been primarily reliant on its oil and extractive industries, one N’djamena-based entrepreneur believes that enabling women and promoting Chadian goods would be beneficial not only for the people, but to promote a healthier country as well. “Chad is a country with lot of natural products but we export all the raw materials and we import all our processed goods. We don’t have factories, we don’t process anything here,” says Awatif Baroud, a female entrepreneur at her home in Mardjane Daffac neighbourhood in the country’s capital. Her vision to build up her small business focuses on creating Chadian products made with raw materials sourced in Chad not an easy feat for a woman in a very conservative country. “Chad is rich in livestock, but we export most of the animal skins, so I decided to create my company to produce bags,” says the 50-year-old owner of Soum Soum, which means sesame in Chadian Arabic, a bag company based in N’Djamena. “We have a tannery in our country, so I buy the skins from there, and have a team of artisans that work with me they have a knowledge in handicrafts,” she says. Her products include hand-made briefcases, all types of women’s handbags, wallets, belts, and desk sets. Some of her designs also incorporate colorful pagnes, or printed cloth, that make up motifs on the bag and lining.

Changing the Gender Bias in Agriculture, 22/12/2018

Women entrepreneurs are playing an important role in transforming global food security for economic growth, but they have to work twice as hard as men to succeed in agribusiness. “Agriculture and agribusiness are generally perceived as run by men,” entrepreneur and Director of the Nairobi-based African Women in Agribusiness Network (AWAN) Beatrice Gakuba, told IPS. She noted that women entrepreneurs have to prove themselves, even though they are as capable and innovative as men. “Women entrepreneurs face more challenges in getting their foot in the door in agricultural business than men when it comes to access to finance because of several factors, including socio-cultural beliefs,” adds Gakuba, who runs a flower export business. “The relationship between money and human beings has always been handled by men, so when a woman says ‘I want to grow my business, or I want to get a loan’, there are many questions asked. Women define agribusiness because more are employed in agriculture.” Opening opportunities, closing barriers: Agriculture is an important source of livelihood for the poorest and is a way of eradicating extreme poverty, especially among rural women. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), if women had the same access as men to resources such as information, land, improved technologies and credit facilities, they could increase agricultural yields by up to 30 percent, and lift more than 100 million people out of hunger. Given their contribution to agricultural development, how can women be empowered, and how can digitalisation in agriculture help to close the growing gender gap? These were some of the critical questions posed at a recent workshop hosted in Wageningen by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA).

Gender Inclusive Value Chains : Improving Women’s Participation in Solomon Islands, 04/10/2018

The aim of this report was to identify the constraints to, and effective measures for, increasing women’s participation and productivity in agricultural value chains in Solomon Islands, including through the Second Rural Development Program (RDP II). The report highlights five key recommendations: (1) make ‘savings clubs’ more accessible, attractive and sustainable; (2) roll out a family-oriented and gender sensitive financial literacy training program; (3) support high-end or specialty cocoa markets and buyers; (4) explore modifications to the design of cocoa solar dryers; and (5) sensitize lead partners under RDP II to the benefits of engaging women. See Less –

The lives of rural women and girls
ODI and Bill & Melinda Gates, October 2018

Across the global South, most rural women and girls are disadvantaged. Compared to men and boys they receive less formal education, some may get less health care, they have fewer opportunities to work outside the household and when they do, they are often paid less and treated worse than men. Most rural women are constrained by social norms that define them primarily as wives, mothers and confined to the domestic sphere, where men do less than their fair share of household chores. Women are typically expected to be subservient to men. At worst, they are subject to emotional and physical abuse by men. Not only is this unjust, but also it means the full potential of rural women and girls – as people, workers, citizens, leaders – is not realised, to the detriment of their households and families, their rural communities and indeed their nations. When rural mothers lack the basics of life – food, income, health care – their children are at risk. Gender inequity thus threatens future generations.

Entrepreneurship Development Interventions for Women Entrepreneurs, 02/02/2018

This brief adds to the evidence brought forward in the 2014 ILO-commissioned publication on the “Effective¬ness of Entrepreneurship Development interventions on Women Entrepreneurs”. Recent research largely corroborates findings of the ILO-WED 2014 brief, with further insights now available particularly on access to micro-credit, peer support networks and ‘bundled’ services.

Rural women entrepreneurship in Uganda: A synthesis report on policies, evidence and stakeholders, May 2017

The African Policy Dialogue on women’s entrepreneurship and social protection in Uganda has published a report that synthesises key issues in rural women entrepreneurship in Uganda. The report describes the context of rural women entrepreneurs in Uganda and pays close attention to the women targeted by the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme (UWEP). Through qualitative and quantitative data from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, findings indicate that: Most rural women are illiterate (about 75 percent) and run informal non-farm enterprises that are micro and seasonal in nature. Accessing finance through local groups such as Rotating Savings and Credit Associations was most common for rural women in business. Thus, training materials, particularly the financial component, mentoring and an early warning system for these entrepreneurs should be established together with effective management and leadership of these groups. For growth to occur, it is important for groups to take bigger loans as an indication of business expansion and growth. The government needs to resume adult literacy programmes within the UWEP.

Women driving agricultural innovation, 26/10/2017

In Africa, 62% of economically active women work in agriculture as producers, traders and processors. Despite their high representation in the sector, rural women are still worse
off in terms of productivity and earnings than men. At a session on Investing in women entrepreneurs at the European Development Days (EDD) in June 2017, CTA director Michael Hailu highlighted, “When you look at the entire value chain, women have a much bigger role in production, which is not very lucrative, but as you go further along the
value chain they have much less of a role because they don’t have access to the resources that are needed, in terms of capital or land, for example.” This limited access to resources contributes to a consistent wage gap between rural men and women in Africa, which ranges from 15-60% depending on the country. If women were given the same access to productive resources, such as fertiliser, machinery and (market or weather) information as men, studies show that they could increase farm yields by 20-30%. The EDD session went on to discuss how to address this disparity between men and women in the agricultural sector  and debate the best practices to support women’s entrepreneurship in agribusiness, including the importance of giving them an equal voice and representation in decision-making at policy level.

Empowering Africa’s rural women for Zero Hunger and shared prosperity, 02/10/2018

This brochure presents the key findings and recommendations of the study entitled “the Regional Outlook on Gender and Agri-food Systems,” which was jointly conducted by the FAO and the African Union Commission. The brochure describes gender gaps in (i) access to and control over productive resources and opportunities, (ii) influence and collective capacity, and (iii) agricultural policies, investment and rural context. Additional analysis on progress and good practices across countries in Africa informed the brochure further to provide recommendations and next steps to move from commitments to collective actions.

Watermelon Farming is a money maker in Agriculture. Ask 28-year-old Kenyan Farmer, Annie Nyaga, 02/05/2016

A number of factors contribute towards turning an individual into an entrepreneur; passion, unemployment, underemployment, or the urge to make additional cash. But only the right kind of business, along with a number of other elements will make you a successful entrepreneur. Watermelon farming is one of such businesses, the kind that will rake in the cash. 28-year-old Annie Nyaga quit her job of six months as a purchasing assistant in Nairobi, Kenya, to become a watermelon farmer, which according to her, has brought her great joy. “I do not know how I would be fairing now if I had stuck to my purchasing job. Going into farming was a good decision,” she told the Saturday Nation, a Kenyan newspaper.

Innovations Boost Income for Women Rice Farmers, 18/04/2016

Salabanya Tabaitou no longer squints from the irritating wood smoke each time she has to parboil her rice paddy. Now Tabaitou feeds logs into a chute of a specially designed brick stove with a chimney that draws away the smoke. The stove with a stainless steel parboiling vessel cooks her rice in 20 minutes – something she would have spent two hours doing using the traditional method. “The stove has made parboiling a pleasant activity, less strenuous and something I look forward to doing because I work with a team unlike in the past when I toiled alone,” Tabaitou says about the innovative heat efficient stove and GEM parboiler developed by AfricaRice with women farmers in mind. Parboiling, a task largely done by women, involves partially boiling rice in the husk before it is milled. The process protects the rice from breaking during milling, preserves nutrition and enhances quality. Parboiled rice is competitive, fetches higher price and is in demand in Benin and many parts of west and central Africa. Rice is a staple in many parts of Africa but the continent is eating more rice that it produces locally. Africa produced over 14 million tonnes in 2015 and is a source of income for more than 35 million smallholder farmers. New technologies introduced by AfricaRice – a pan African research organisation – are helping women produce better quality, nutritious local rice that earns them more income on the market. Half of the rice eaten in Sub Saharan Africa is imported taking away local jobs and income. Scientists from AfricaRice — under the support to agricultural research for development of strategic crops (SARD-SC) programme funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) — introduced the ‘innovation platform’ (IP) approach in Benin. Innovation platforms are formal groupings bringing together in value chains in a given agriculture commodity with the aim of boosting information and knowledge sharing, and learning, to enhance the adoption of technological solutions and institutional change. Furthermore, the platforms show usefulness of new technologies and innovations designed to improve rice production, productivity and value addition.

African Women in Agribusiness Resolve to Take Action, 13/11/2015

Women as key producers of food for African households will no longer cry, Estherine Fotabong assured a conference for women in agribusiness in Durban last week. “Now is the time to take action!”As the Director of Programs with the New Partnership for African Development, NEPAD, Fotabong opened the Durban International Conference on a high note. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by world governments September 25 at the landmark Sustainable Development Summit at UN Headquarters in New York. The historic new agenda, “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” was agreed by the UN’s 193 Member States.She focused on the theme of the conference, “Women in entrepreneurial development: A Must for Success of the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa.”

European Parliament Analysis & Study for the International Day of Rural Women 2015, 10-2015

The International Day of Rural Women was celebrated for the first time in 2008. Based on UN resolution 62/136 it recognizes “the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.” In this sense, the Workshop provides an overview of the situation of rural women in Europe and their crucial role in sustainable rural development. It informs about women’s engagement in employment, decision – making and rural lives more  generally as well as on how to close the gap between men and women  regarding equal access to resources and business opportunities. In this respect,  the role of funding from the CAP for rural women is also analysed.

EU: Empowering women farmers in developing countries, 14/09/2015

Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan shared his vision of how the EU and developing countries could greatly improve global food security together, through innovation and sustainable farming practices. In Europe “family farms” refers to agricultural holdings where most or all family members, including women, will contribute in a variety of vital ways. The Commission is putting its money into supporting sustainable farming practices in developing countries, focusing on smallholder agriculture and women farmers, the formation of farmers’ organisations, the supply and marketing chain, and responsible private agribusiness investment. In this regard, targeting women has been a particular priority, given their traditionally central role in smallholdings. Empowering women to play central roles in all areas of agricultural production is absolutely crucial if developing countries are to achieve their full potential in the agri-food sector.

Empowerment of African women through participation in agricultural value chains, 27/09/2015

The African Developemnt Bank launched a new report, which unveils a new plan to empower African Women in Agriculture. The report highlights five major constraints that limit women’s productivity and inclusion into the agricultural economy: (i) lack of access to assets; (ii) lack of access to financing; (iii)  limited training; (iv) gender-neutral government policy; (v) time constraints due to domestic responsibilities. It also highlights three broad areas for action that could begin to address the specific constraints women face in each focus country: (i) Grow the number of large-scale agribusiness entrepreneurs by providing access to financing and training, and improving regional and global market links; (ii) Make sure women are remunerated by setting them up as co-owners, improving productivity, and providing training in core business skills; (iii) Increase women’s access to niche markets by producing and marketing women-only products.