Inspiring Inclusion through Action: Generation Africa Fuels Women’s Progress in Africa’s Food Systems

Today, 8 March  2024, is International Women’s Day. The world unites in celebrating women’s achievements in social, cultural, political and economic fields. It is also a day to emphasize on challenges women face in realizing their full potential and galvanize support to address them, accelerating gender parity.

According to the United Nations, this year’s theme is “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress”.

This theme reminds us of the dire need for women’s economic emancipation to attain gender equality. 

 The all-female founding team of RHEA

The Alliance for Science’s finding shows that in Africa women produce around 70 percent of food but own only 20 percent of the land. Indeed, in Africa, while majority of women rely on agricultural activities to feed their families, they face financial exclusion and have fewer rights to none over land. This challenge hinders their ability to farm and produce food for consumption at home and for the market.

As indicated in the African Union Press Release on the launch of Decade of Women’s Financial and Economic Inclusion in 2020, the World Bank reports that more than 70% of African women are excluded by financial institutions or are unable to receive financial services.

On a continent where agribusiness potential is unmatched and food security lies in the hands of women who form more than half of the population; it is essential to create conducive environment that enables women to thrive particularly in agriculture sector. Generation Africa is already leading the way in empowering young women to revolutionize agri-food system in Africa. 

Generation Africa raises the performance of women in agriculture by accelerating their agribusinesses through access to social capital and knowledge capital, digital and technology services; improving access to regional and global markets through access to market information; amplifying youth’s voices and advocacy in the agri-food chain. 

Through its competitions, Generation Africa is intentional in awarding young women who are outstanding in their respective fields. 

In 2023, the GoGettaz Grand Prize in the female-led enterprise category went to Hasina Andriatsitohaina of Mad’Arom from Madagascar. Hasina is the first finalist from Madagascar who shone and took home 50000 US dollars. A food technology specialist engineer in agriculture and environmental sciences, Hasina ventures into developing spice and aroma value chains by promoting the agroforestry system with around 2,000 producers in rural areas of Madagascar, and by collecting and transforming the products into essential oils before wholesaling it to the food, cosmetics, and perfume industries on the national and international markets.

Ms. Hasina poses with the President of the Republic of Tanzania, Her Excellency Samia Suluhu, at the Youth Townhall, Africa Food Systems Forum (AFSF) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. 

In the Pitch AgriHack contest 2023, under the women-led agritech enterprises, Priscilla Wakerera from Kenya with her agritech business Rhea emerged as top winner bagging 45,000 US dollars. The Nigerian Solape Akinpelu cofounder of Hervest was ranked second. 

Rhea helps smallholder farmers make the right decisions by providing affordable, convenient soil testing for smarter farming. Their IoT device does moisture testing, NPK measurements and soil PH tests before sending AI generated recommendations for fertilizer, pH adjustments, irrigation, and crop recommendations. On the other hand, HerVest is about inclusive finance for African women. They provide easy access to target savings, impact investments and credit financing for smallholder women farmers and women-owned/led SMEs in Nigeria.

Women-Led Agribusiness Winners of @PitchAgriHack 2023

Talking about Generation Africa and Women’s Day, AGRA is convening an event to mark the Day. This Friday, in recognizing and commemorating the achievements of women while also highlighting the ongoing struggles for gender equality, AGRA organizes a hybrid event under Value4Her. The event takes place in Abuja, Nigeria. Value4Her is AGRA’s continental initiative for strengthening the ecosystem of women in agribusiness and is powered by Value4HerConnect, Africa’s first women in agribusiness digital marketplace that offers integrated business solutions to women agri-enterprises. The platform is centered on 5 key pillars: Women2Women, Women2Market, Women2Technology, Women2KnowHow and Women2Finance. The event sets the stage in driving advocacy agendas, conversations and, targeted policy solutions that are essential to ensure women in African agribusiness have equal opportunities to access finance and thrive. During the convening, AGRA will officially launch the call for applications for Value4Her flagship award scheme, the 2024 Women Agripreneur of the Year Award (WAYA) which recognizes African female agripreneurs demonstrating remarkable innovation and business excellence in agricultural value chains, usually presented at the annual conference, the Africa Food Systems Forum (formerly AGRF).

Women account for nearly half of the world’s smallholder farmers, and Generation Africa understands it is through women’s empowerment that we can achieve a global food security ensuring no one goes to sleep hungry. In line with the campaign theme for this year’s Women Day, inspiring inclusion is what Generation Africa does through its various initiatives that fuel the progress of young women agripreneurs to guarantee gender equality while addressing zero hunger.  

Eliseus Bamporineza

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