Online network links women agri-preneurs to opportunities

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

The platform dubbed, ‘VALUE4H-ERConnect’, 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 desp-ite the critical role they play in the agricultural sector. Though accounting for 40 per cent of the agricultural workforce world-wide, women’s participation in agribusinesses is often limited to low-profit production.

“While women are key players in agriculture, they often face chall-enges at the b u s i n e s s 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 cap-acity building opportunities, which will ultimately help them form strategic partnerships to access global markets for more income.

The platform includes a Wom-en2Women 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 entrepre-neurs in agriculture together in a viral community, serve as an important business resource for members, and provide informa-tion on financing and opportuni-ties for training.

The event was jointly organised by the African Women Agribusi-ness Network (AWAN), and the Africa Women Innovation and Enterpreneurship 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 execu-tive 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 diversifica-tion and high-value exports. The demand is high.”

Gakumba said the platform will further bridge the data and info-rmation gap and boost the conn-ection of women to intra-African opportunities, finance, and markets.

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

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