VALUE4HER digital platform is Africa’s first agribusiness intelligence platform aimed at facilitating growth and development of women owned agribusiness enterprises. The platform seeks to expand visibility for women’s businesses, expand their presence in markets where they trade, access new markets nationally, regionally and internationally, and to acquire the capital, business and technical partners and resources required to support their growing businesses. The platform has so far registered representation from 36 countries, with over 750 businesses registered.
TalkCorner is a virtual platform organized by the VALUE4HER programme to spotlight women’s agribusinesses, enable them to share their experiences and lessons and inspire other women to join agri-entrepreneurship journey and grow their businesses and secure more incomes. TalkCorner sessions aim to build the confidence and capacity of the woman speaker, profile her business and facilitate meaningful partnerships and mentorship.
This year’s first TalkCorner featured Dr. Agnes Fasehun, the Managing Director of SwanCape Ltd. SwanCape Ltd is a producer and distributor of premium quality vegetables, herbs and fish sold in major Nigerian supermarkets, restaurants and their farm shops.
Having been brought up in a farming family, Dr. Fasehun was taken aback when, armed with a veterinary medicine degree, prospective employers turned her down, declaring her unable to handle large animals like cattle
“Luckily I had served my national youth service stint at a financial institution and I found an alternative job with a bank,” says Dr. Fasehun as she narrates her journey in agribusiness.
But the banking sector was not where her passion was, she left the financial stability and predictability of the banking career to start her own agribusiness.
Her interest in agriculture and food systems was nurtured by the realization that whenever she visited major supermarkets, a lot of vegetable items were imported, despite the fact that her country Nigeria was producing enough local vegetables. She was determined that she would one day ensure local products could compete with imports.
She discussed the specific challenges she encountered along the way, including cash flow issues, identifying markets, appropriate staffing and developing competitiveness in product quality.
Through continuous training of staff, networking and working with her suppliers to maintain high standards, Dr. Fasehun has today managed to get her produce side by side with imported products on several major supermarkets in Nigeria.
Since she had already transitioned her business to digital commerce, the COVID-19 pandemic did not pose that much of a challenge to her business. The only barrier she faced was delivering goods to her customers due to the lock-down but she was able to overcome this with the government issued permits.
In a poll held among participants in the first virtual TalkCorner webinar, most participants cited financial support as the biggest barrier to entry and growth of women businesses.
VALUE4HER aims to close the gender gap in agri-entrepreneurship and help women business owners to overcome the unique challenges that dissuade them from starting and growing businesses.
TalkCorner is a monthly webinar hosted by AGRAs VALUE4Her women’s agribusiness digital market, to spotlight successful women’s agribusinesses, to use their stories to inspire confidence in themselves and other women.
VALUE4Her is AGRAs continental program aimed at assisting women grow their agribusinesses through access to markets, capital, skills and capacities and business information and intelligence services.
For more information please contact Ms. Sabdiyo Dido, Head of Gender and Inclusion, AGRA on firstname.lastname@example.org