A pan African digital platform was launched on Thursday to spur growth of female-led agriculture based enterprises through provision of real time information on sources of finance and markets.
The digital platform called Value 4 Her Connect that was launched on the sidelines of the inaugural African women in agribusiness conference underway in Nairobi is an initiative of Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA) in partnership with African Women Agribusiness Network and Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF).
“The launch of value for her digital platform is an important step towards digitizing agriculture and putting women agripreneurs on the global market,” said Chris Kiptoo, principal secretary in Kenya’s ministry of trade.
He said the digital platform will help female agripreneurs harness opportunities unleashed by establishment of an African Continental Free Trade Area.
“The platform will enhance the capacity of African women and youth to trade in agricultural commodities across borders hence contributing to economic growth,” said Kiptoo.
Female owners of agri-based enterprises with a working capital not less than 2 million shillings (about 20,000 U.S. dollars) are eligible to enlist in the digital platform to help expand their footprint in the continental and global markets.
Irene Ochem, founder and chief executive officer of AWIEF said the value for her digital platform is expected to boost growth of women and youth owned agribusinesses across Africa.
“The launch of the pioneer digital platform for connecting women in agribusiness was a milestone that will have multiplier impact on our economies and livelihoods,” said Ochem.
She said the platform will help connect women in agribusiness to potential investors and networks they require to expand their geographical coverage.
More than 400 women in agribusiness across Sub-Saharan African region have already enrolled in the value for her digital platform and the number is expected to grow thanks to its positive impacts.
Beatrice Gakuba, executive director of African Women Agribusiness Network said the launch of a digital platform is a giant step towards addressing infrastructural, financing and technical hurdles that have derailed growth of female led agri-based enterprises.
“The platform will be a repository of information on markets, agricultural technologies and financial inclusion,” said Gakuba.
Michael Sudarkasa, chief executive officer of South Africa based consultancy firm, Africa Business Group, said the value for her digital platform will help female agripreneurs access information on tariffs and phytosanitary standards to ease penetration to overseas markets.