Women in agribusiness play important role in developing the continent. As Africa looks to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, the full participation of women in agribusiness as producers, consumers, business owners and key decision-makers can be a potent force for change.
Here are 5 women in agribusiness you should know about.
Just over ten years ago, Ms Ondachi left her position at a global pharmaceutical company and ventured into the farming industry. Her company Ojay Greene works with small farmholders by increasing their earnings and ensuring a consistent and predictable income stream. Ondachi has increased the incomes of 30 out growers by up to 40% and improved the livelihood of over 250 farmers. The company signs contracts with the farmers to produce specific food crops, which it commits to buy. It then offers them high quality seeds, access to its demonstration farms and agronomics support. Through Ojay Greene, farmers supply agricultural produce to 5 supermarkets in Kenya. Ondachi facilitates training programs on the topics of financial inclusion, knowledge transfer, resilience to climate change, access to inputs and access to profitable markets.
Maīmouna Sidibe Coulibaly
Ms Coulibaly has over a decade of work experience in agribusiness. In 2003 she started her company Faso Kaba Sarl, now the largest seed company based in Mali. Faso Kaba Sarl specializes in the production and marketing of agricultural seeds for the benefit of small farmers. These improved seeds are of a better quality, and are also highly productive and better yielding for the farmers. Coulibaly strives to reduce poverty and foster sustainable development by focusing on the bottom of the agricultural value chain, by providing high-yielding seeds to small farmers in the region. Coulibaly invests in people and communities. Her network grew tenfold, from 40 outgrowers in 2005 to 400 in 2015, and all the members were trained in the production of certified seeds.
Professor Ruth Oniang’o
Professor Oniang’o is both an academic and entrepreneur. She is the first professor of Nutrition in Kenya. She has taught at Tertiary level since 1978 and received her 1st and 2nd degrees from Washington State University, Pullman, USA in 1972 and 1974, respectively. She received her PhD from the University of Nairobi, Kenya in 1983. She founded and headed Director of Graduate Studies and served as Professor of Food Science and Nutrition. Further she was a member of Kenya’s ninth parliament where advocated for food security and eradication of poverty from 2003 to 2007. She has influenced the development of Nutrition training, research, development discourse in Kenya and the continent. She touches the lives of families in rural Butere-Mumias district through her community development organization, Rural Outreach Africa. She is a leading academic expert in Food Security and Nutrition with a record of influencing government policies and training numerous young professionals in this field. As a leading academic she founded and edited the African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development (AJFAND).
Dr Eleni Z Gabre-Madhin
Dr Gabre-Madhin is the former Chief Executive Officer of the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX). She has many years of experience working on agricultural markets – particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa – and has held senior positions in the World Bank, the International Food Policy Research Institute (Washington), and United Nations (Geneva). She extensively researched agricultural markets as researcher for the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). She was also instrumental in the launch and development of the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX). Gabre-Madhin is the founder of Blue Moon. BlueMoon is Ethiopia’s first youth agribusiness/agri-tech incubator and seed investment platform. Her contribution to agricultural sector has lead to her being named as the Devex’s Top 5 Global Women of Impact on Development; Wharton Business School’s Africa Top Pioneer Women and Entrepreneur; Newsweek’s 125 Global Women and Impact and New Africa’s 100 Most Influential Africans.
Dr. Agnes Kalibata
Dr. Kalibata was Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI). In this role, she was widely considered to be one of the most successful Agriculture Ministers in sub-Saharan Africa. She is president of AGRA and leads the organization’s efforts with the participation of public and private partners towards ensuring a food secure Africa through rapid, sustainable agricultural growth and improved productivity by empowering millions of smallholder farmers. Dr. Kalibata has held several other leadership positions, including Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture and Deputy Vice Chancellor of University of Rwanda. She has also worked for the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Uganda, and various other agricultural development organizations. Dr. Kalibata has a distinguished track record as an agricultural scientist, policy maker and thought leader. She holds a doctorate in Entomology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
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