Sh240m fund for women in agribusiness

African women in agribusiness and assorted enterprises have received a boost following the launch of a new project to boost their fortunes. The European Union, through the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), launched the robust project that targets women in agribusiness in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.

The project titled Value for Her (Value4Her) seeks to train women in the entire agriculture value chain and make them efficient, competitive, and in control of their enterprises. The project, which was launched in Nairobi, is seeking to create opportunities for women on three key areas namely access to market and access to knowledge and skills.

Mr Michael Hailu, the CTA director, said that his organisation has set aside 2 million Euros (Sh240 million) to provide credit to women in agriculture. The financing is expected to steady most agribusiness that are run by women. Importantly, it is designed to rope women into the world of technology, especially digital, to afford them an opportunity to be competitive in their agribusiness and enterprise.

Mr Hailu said that, “With Value4Her, CTA recognises women and youth potential and want to give it room to grow. We call on you today to join us in this mission to develop Africa’s agriculture through the lens of the people that bear it the most: the women.” “Agriculture is the engine of growth in Africa. To grow their economies and create jobs, countries will have to transform agriculture to be modern, inclusive, productive and profitable,” Mr Hailu added.

“We are here today to affirm our commitment to women empowerment in the business of agriculture, an agenda that is so crucial and important for Africa as well across the developing world.” “Indeed, our key commitment is strengthening women’s agribusiness enterprises in ACP countries,” Hailu noted.

The PS for Agriculture, Richard Lesiyampe, who presided over the occasion at the end of last week, noted that the potential of women to drive agro-industries has largely been ignored and frustrated. “Women are productive only that we are not giving them the full support. We shall establish policies that will provide women with an avenue to fully participate in the entire agriculture value chain,” Mr Lesiyampe said.

Speaking at the event, Ms Nnenna Nwabufo, the Deputy Director for East Africa, Africa Development Bank (AfDB) Group, regretted that the continent loses a lot by not fully utilising the prowess of women in agriculture and agribusiness. She, however, reassured that the bank has developed a strategy that will be supportive of women agribusiness. “We have identified three pillars for gender equality: strengthening women’s legal rights, promoting economic empowerment and capacity building,” she said.

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