Women are actors in numerous agricultural value chains, offering huge potential for their participation in markets, but very few are involved at the end of the chain. Promoting women’s agribusinesses is therefore a viable route to increasing livelihoods and prosperity for rural communities. However, women often lack access to competitive markets, and technical, leadership and management capacities. Women also experience other gender-related barriers, including access to finance, to help grow their businesses and enable them to compete more effectively in the market.

Interventions to increase business opportunities for women have often failed to conduct robust market analyses, resulting in market saturation and weaker than expected returns. Access to finance coupled with business management and leadership skills should strengthen connections to markets and increase technology uptake among women’s businesses. Data, particularly about women-led businesses, is either non-existent or fragmented between different actors; it is therefore crucial to construct a knowledge base upon which evidence can be generated and useful nuances on the critical success factors for women’s agribusinesses developed. In collaboration with partners, CTA’s VALUE4HER project will tackle these constraints in order to increase the incomes and employment for women in agribusinesses.

VALUE4HER a new CTA project will empower women entrepreneurs working in the agricultural sector – agripreneurs – by giving them the skills, knowledge and access to markets, finance and services they need to build their businesses. The project is calling for women-led agribusinesses to register to become part of the first intelligence network targeting women-led agribusinesses in Africa.

“Women are key actors in agriculture, but benefit little from high-value activities,” says Sabdiyo Dido Bashuna, senior technical adviser, value chains and agribusiness, at the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA).

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Critical challenges for women include access to markets and market intelligence, access to finance and other business services, and the technical, management and leadership skills needed to drive an enterprise forwards.

VALUE4HER has launched a call for women-led agribusinesses in southern and eastern Africa to register for an agribusiness intelligence network targeting women-led agribusinesses. The aim is to foster better links with markets, supply chains and other service providers, including financing partners. Agribusinesses that register will also be eligible to participate in the project’s activities, including training and the chance to apply for a competitive grant aimed at spurring innovation.

To register with VALUE4HER, go to the following links:

Eastern Africa: https://goo.gl/forms/d8H1vWXD51PKNcUz1

Southern Africa: https://goo.gl/forms/7Bo5BgZEeE3Fb6Dx1

VALUE4HER a joint initiative of CTA, the Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) and the African Women in Agribusiness Network (AWAN), will help women to develop agribusinesses and to derive more income from agri-food markets. “We want to bring in more young women to be job creators and not just job seekers,” said Irene Ochem, founder and CEO of AWIEF, at the launch of the project.

CTA has extensive experience in working with women-led businesses in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific, including the Caribbean Network of Rural Women Producers (CANROP) and Samoa-based Women in Business Development Incorporated (WIBDI), as well as with farmer-led agricultural enterprises in Africa.

VALUE4HER will focus on linking women-led agribusinesses with competitive high-value regional and global markets, and improving women business leader’s technical and managerial skills. The project will also facilitate innovative business linkages with other women-led agribusinesses and help agripreneurs to link with women suppliers, to benefit other women in the value chain. In addition, VALUE4HER will use knowledge and targeted advocacy to address economic barriers to women’s entrepreneurship (e.g. equitable access to finance), as well as highlight and reinforce market practices that enable women to succeed.

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For more information or to request an interview contact:

Toby Johnson, Team Leader Communications, CTA, +31 (0) 6 10 88 50 80, johnson@cta.int

About CTA

The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) is a joint international institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU). Its mission is to advance food security, resilience and inclusive economic growth in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific through innovations in sustainable agriculture. CTA operates under the framework of the Cotonou Agreement and is funded by the EU.

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