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Women entrepreneurs receive boost with new platform launch

Female ‘agripreneurs’ across Africa will now be able to connect, network and grow their businesses thanks to a new connectivity platform, VALUE4HER.

 More than 400 women have signed up to Africa’s first online platform for female agripreneurs that brings together those in agriculture in a virtual community and serve as an important business resource.

The network, launched by African Women Agribusiness Network Afrika (AWAN-Afrika), is the first continental conference and VALUE4HER fair that is happening in Nairobi, as part of a program led by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation to empower women in agriculture.

Speaking during the launch, Ministry of Agriculture Assistant Director Jacinta Ngwiri said for a long time women in Kenya and in the continent have just been mere producers.

“This continent has just been exporting and sending out in terms of food produce, cash crops and so forth. We want now to move out of that and do more in agribusiness, where we can sell out from our countries and the continent more finished products that can fetch more money,” Ms Ngwiri said.

As government, the assistant director said Kenya has an existing policy that is being implemented to support women and youth programmes in terms of improving labour, giving information, enhancing networking and also access to market in various levels.

“In general we have programmes reaching women in all levels depending on their capacity and this is all aimed at improving their untapped potential so as to turn around agricultural production in this country,” she said.

Ngwiri, however, noted that access to enough credit, which is supposed to help women to mobilize their potential and have higher output, is still a problem.

She also explained that the donors are making sure that the programmes they are implementing were gender sensitive and accessible to women and youth in a more targeted way.

Despite accounting for 40 percent of the agricultural workforce worldwide, women’s participation in agribusiness is often limited to low-profit production.

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