Agribusiness: Upgrading Women’s Participation
30 April 2015 –
Do women in agriculture recognize the business opportunities?
Why don’t banks finance women agri-entrepreneurs? What is the Government of Kenya doing to ensure women agri-entrepreneurs the same opportunities as men?
These were some of the questions raised during a one-day workshop and forum on Women in Agribusiness convened by World Bank Group Fellow, Dr. Rahma Adam, with support from HBS Nairobi.
In Kenya, 80 per cent of the agricultural production comes from small-scale farmers, who are mostly rural women. Though they comprise the largest percentage of the workforce in the agricultural sector, women lack access and control over land and productive resources.
It was against this background that, academics, experts and practitioners from various sectors of agriculture and finance came together to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing women in agri-business.
The two-part event began with deliberations in a multi-stakeholder technical workshop.
In her keynote address, Maria-Threase Keating (above) UNDP Kenya Country Director talked about women empowerment in the emerging sustainable development goals. Dr G N V Ramana, the Lead Health Specialist World Bank, Kenya shared the bank’s best practices in empowering women in agriculture.
In her presentation, Prof Atieno A Ndede-Amadi (above), Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Kenya Kountry Business Incubator, discussed financing women in agribusiness.
Entrepreneur and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology lecturer Prof. Henry Bwisa presented a paper titled; “Building business and entrepreneurial capacities and skills for women agri-entrepreneurs.
Later in the day, a gender forum on women in agribusiness was held. It consisted of a panel drawn from the research community, Government of Kenya Ministry of Agriculture, African Women in Agribusiness Network, East African Legislative Assembly and Common Market for East & Southern Africa (COMESA).
Participation was from members of the general public as well as the media.
Among others, they identified the high cost of credit and limited markets for small-scale women farmers, whose subsistence production orientation limits their competitiveness. They recommended devolution of services by financial providers and capacity building organizations to better support farmers and women agri-entrepreneurs at county level. Also proposed were the needs to sensitize young people, especially women on the opportunities in agriculture and agribusiness and promote entrepreneurship education.
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