NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 5- AGRA has kicked off the celebrations of 2021 international women’s day by a series of in-country VALUE4HER networking and advocacy events.
These events promote interactions among women companies, markets actors and other public and development actors for better understanding of needs and opportunities. The first in-country event started in Kenya on March 2nd, 2021.
“In the next four weeks, we are going to hold similar networking events in all our 11 focus countries where women entrepreneurs in agribusiness can interact and share experiences with their colleagues and other players in the industry under the banner VALUE4HER,” said Vanessa Adams, AGRA’s Vice President for Strategic Partnerships, and Chief of Party, PIATA.
VALUE4HER is a platform whose aim is to increase incomes and employment opportunities for women by linking women-led agribusinesses with competitive high value regional and global markets, and improving women business leader’s technical and managerial skills, with training on market dynamics, to grow their agribusinesses further.
“You cannot make a change single handedly,” said Adams. “You need networks, coalitions, partnerships and movements to make an impact,” she added.
Senior Project Management Specialist, Office of Economic Growth and Integration (OEGI) at the USAID Mary Onsongo, said that the VALUE4HER was a great milestone and an important resource. “Through this network, we are making our voices heard,” she said noting that there are 779 women-led agribusinesses that are already registered on the platform.
“The Africa Continental Free Trade Area is expanding opportunities for all Africans, and as African women, we will not miss out on these opportunities to advance women empowerment,” said Onsongo.
She noted that USAID has been working with the government of Kenya and other countries around the world to develop the agriculture sector through the Feed the Future initiative. “We have worked with different organizations to improve food security and reduce malnutrition and clearly, women have always been the cornerstone of these efforts,” she said.
According to Sabdiyo Dido, the Head of Gender and Inclusiveness at AGRA, there is need to build a one-stop-shop for women entrepreneurs across the African continent. “We are hoping to create a movement around this to amplify the voice of women in agriculture and agribusiness so as to address constraints they face in terms of environmental perspective, gender, policy and legislative perspectives,” she said.
She noted that the meeting in Nairobi was the first step in an effort to bring the VALUE4HER platform to country levels, to local partners, financing institutions among other important players in the agribusiness sector.
Chief Administrative Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives Anne Nyaga, thanked AGRA for driving an initiative that seeks to amplify the efforts of women by bridging gaps that hinder them from becoming the people they are supposed to be. “We can’t achieve food and nutrition security, which is one of the pillars of the President’s Big 4 Agenda without addressing challenges that face women and mostly smallholder farmers in general,” she said. “These collective partnerships cannot be overemphasized.”