Placing women at the frontline of agricultural transformation

03 Apr 2017 by Atinuke Lebile

Women constitute a large percentage of the workforce in the agricultural sector. The 2017 International Women’s Day has a global theme that showcases women’s ability to drive the needed change in the world and in their field of operations, particularly for women in agriculture.

Research has shown that Africa is capable of feeding itself and ending hunger but there are challenges that limit these potentials. Prominent among these challenges are the perception that agriculture is a dirty job- work for the poor people. This has led to neglect of the agrarian communities in terms of programmes and interventions that could contribute greatly to transforming the agricultural sector and the standard of living of the dwellers.

Also, notable among the problems are the issues of gender discrimination, persistent traditional farming approach and the problem of food wastage which is estimated at 70% of the food produced.

The gender division of labor in African agriculture tells of the vital roles of both men and women in cash and food crop production. It is thus noteworthy that rural women are strong pillars in ensuring the transformation of the agricultural sector. They are part of the large percentage of food producers who also, are experiencing food wastage as a result of little or no value addition and technologies for use or even capacity development programmes to enrich their knowledge and skills.

Thinking beyond problems and providing solutions is one of the fundamental and core values of agricultural companies, donor agencies and individuals. Being identified under the individual categories of solution providers, SHE AGRIC was established.

 SHE AGRIC – Picture the name

SHE AGRIC is a name that pictured women both young  and old either in rural or urban areas, and agriculture as it exists in a merger – She (Women) Agric (Agriculture). This is an initiative that was sprouted out of the passion for agriculture and women in agriculture, particularly with the concerns about the increasing rate of unemployment among women, gender inequality and sexual harassment facing women. The initiative is passionate about educating and empowering SHE youths and adult women through agriculture, agribusiness, agricultural value chain and post-harvest processing that are sustainable and profitable.

SHE AGRIC is a breaker of barriers among the ladies through the teaching of profitable agriculture and creating women-agriprenuers to improve the livelihood of the feminine gender especially rural women. The movement also fosters the self-actualisation of young female through sustainable agriculture, agribusiness, agricultural value chain and post-harvest processing.

Reducing the rate of unemployment among women through empowerment of women in sustainable and profitable agribusiness and value chain operations is a concerned priority. The initiative has trained and empowered women on the various value addition procedures of agricultural produce like the cassava in chips and flour production.

Individual young woman admitted into the SHE AGRIC initiative are exposed to both theoretical and high level of practical trainings on sustainable agriculture and value chain. This is done in partnership with Ogunmod Farms and Farmers’ Academy, an organization committed to youth empowerment, post-harvest loss reduction and agribusiness development.

The organization helps with provision of land for practical trainings to the SHE farmers to enable them to carry out their farming operations for a period of time. This is done to scale up their level of experience and enable them to earn reasonable income from their farm proceeds and thus, position them to establish their own farm.

SHE AGRIC has established partnership with Young Professional for Agricultural Development (YPARD) Nigeria to strengthen the SHE agricultural champions in research and professional development.

The SHE AGRIC initiative will continue to encourage, educate and empower young women between the age of 18 and 35years to participate in sustainable and profitable agriculture so they can exploit the great opportunities that exist in agriculture and its business prospects.

SHE AGRIC is open to supports and partnership to make the vision achievable and successful.

Photo credit: Atinuke Lebile.