Gender & Inclusiveness
Agricultural transformation must address gender inequality. The productivity of women-led farms is 20 to 30% lower than those of men. AGRA has implemented intentional programming to address gaps and play a catalytic role in inclusive agricultural transformation.
In 2021 AGRA aimed to move forward our VALUE4HER program alongside the implementation of revamped gender and inclusivity strategic objectives. Key highlights follow below. The VALUE4HER initiative is a core implementation channel for women’s agribusiness development. It was launched in 11 AGRA countries with three countries (Rwanda, Kenya and Mali) ready with their implementation plans. In 2021, VALUE4Her membership grew by another 1,000 companies, reaching total membership of 2,073 by end of 2021.
The initiative’s advocacy continued to educate, create awareness, and amplify women’s voices, creating urgency to address pertinent issues affecting women in agribusiness. Over the year, AGRA accrued knowledge, interest, and partnerships from each country. With gender and advocacy engagements led by AGRA around the UN Food Systems Dialogues we reached over 2500 women as both partners and participants.
VALUE4HER women-knowledge program (Arise Program)
AGRA, in close partnership with RENEW, implemented the African Resilience and Investment Series for Women Executives (ARISE) program, which trained 1,562 women business leaders on business leadership, investment facilitation and financial management. Through the initiative, 100 promising women companies were prepared for investment facilitation, with three pitching to investors and one in negotiation with an investor.
The Women to Women supply chain (WOW) program
AGRA designed and put in place the VALUE4HER Women to Women supply chain program (WOW) which is aimed at catalyzing women to women supplier networks, based on training and mentorship. The program is working with 20 offtake companies run by women, to build out supply chains as a proof of concept to at least 400 micro enterprises also run by entrepreneurial women, some of whom are farmers.
The program launched in the last quarter of 2021, and WOW helped women agripreneurs leverage, connect and integrate women from a cross section of businesses to create market opportunities that serve women. AGRA has collaborated with CGIAR’s International Rice Research Institute to document the lessons from this program which will be scaled up in AGRA’s new strategy as a model incorporating the private sector.
The VALUE4HER Women Agripreneurs of the Year Awards (WAYA) is an AGRA led recognition award for women agripreneurs who have excelled and demonstrated innovation across the agricultural value chain. AGRA inaugurated the first WAYA awards at the 2021 AGRF. This first edition broadly recognized 2021’s most innovative women agripreneurs.
The inaugural 2021 WAYA awards were presided over by Hon Prof Margret Kobia, Kenya’s Minister for Public Service, Youth and Gender. The winners included: Hajia Salamatu Garba, Women Farmers Advancement Network (WOFAN ENTERPRISES), Nigeria; Beatrice Nkatha M’Munyi, Sorghum Pioneer Agencies, Kenya; and Linda K. Manyeza, Food Masters South Africa.
VALUE4HER TalkCorners are aimed at spotlighting successful women agripreneurs to increase their visibility, confidence and share lessons of their entrepreneurial journey with other women. In 2021, AGRA conducted 6 TalkCorner webinars including a COP 26 side event on women championing climate change mitigation and adaptation. These events featured outstanding women business leaders and industry players.
Gender integration in AGRA country programs.
Despite gender and inclusion being a relatively new investment for AGRA, progress was made in the year. Data shows that AGRA’s investments through grants reached nearly 10 million smallholder farmers, of whom 3.5 million were female farmers. Extension advisory through village based advisors contributed largely to these results, with evidence pointing to women farmers reporting changes in their farming practices due to easy access to last mile agricultural technologies and services promoted by AGRA.
AGRA continues to integrate gender in new grants and donor proposals including the design of BMGF bridge grant work streams, the Mastercard Foundation youth employability program, and Nigeria’s Consortium program on boosting Resilience and Upscaling of Gender, Inclusive Rural Economy for Increased Productivity, Livelihoods and Food Security covering Kaduna and Niger states, among others.
Building the capacity of AGRA staff to support gender sensitive programming is key to the success of AGRA’s program. So far, 22 staff have participated in training, with more planned for the following year. A study is underway on gender and the village based advisor model, seeking to understand how the VBA model could be improved to serve women farmers and address gender gaps in access to extension advisory and agronomic practices.
Women in Food Trade Thematic working group
The women in food trade thematic working group launched in May 2021. Its main aim is to foster mechanisms for coordination and participation of women in policy dialogue and advocacy for a conducive environment, and to amplify the voice of women in regional food trade.
Gender and youth Advocacy webinars at the 2021 AGRF Summit
Youth Town Hall
The event was conducted under the youth entrepreneur platform of the AGRF. The 2021 youth townhall provided a unique platform for young people including school children to present their issues, challenges, and aspirations to Governments and stakeholders for policy consideration as well as interact with various ecosystem players and their peers. It also provided a chance to spotlight Kenya’s 4-K Club, a new policy approved by Kenyan government in 2021, with the aim of returning agricultural learning and clubs in schools, both at primary and secondary school level in Kenya. Caption for photo: The speakers in this session included the school children, the youths who interacted directly with the high-level government officials and called for action, Hon. Rosemary Mbabazi – Minister for Youth in Rwanda, Hon. Yaw Frimpong-Addo Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture, Ghana, Anne Nyaga, Chief Administrative Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives Kenya and presided over by H.E. HON Uhuru Kenyatta, the sitting President of the Republic of Kenya who is also the Patron of the 4-K Club.
The GoGettaz Prize celebrates and promotes the next generation of young entrepreneurs in the Agri-Food sector across Africa. The perception of entrepreneurship and agri-food as a risky, difficult and unglamorous career choice for young Africans needs reversing to attract a new generation of talented, ambitious young people towards this opportunity.
The excitement of the prize and the finalists’ stories provided a backbone to the campaign to promote it. The communications campaign promoted agripreneurship more broadly, reaching 71 million people, and the winners’ announcement also provided brand value as a tangible return on investment for contributing partners. Over 3,000 applications were received from across 40 countries, with 2 grand prize winners selected and awarded US$50,000 each, while 4 Impact Award winners were selected and awarded US$2,500 each.