Nowhere else in the world, apart from Africa, do women play dual roles of producing the continent’s food and at the same time raising their children.
Agricultural Platform Offering Women Empowerment Resources, Agric-P.O.W.E.R
Agric-P.O.W.E.R is a scalable platform that closes the critical information gap facing rural women farmers. The platform started in Imo State, in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Agric-P.O.W.E.R encourages a more participatory approach in improved agriculture to ensure equitable access to productive resources and extension agents by rural women farmers.
Women make up 60-80 percent of the agricultural labor force in Nigeria ad produce two-thirds of the food crops. Widowed farmers are at the very bottom of the pyramid when it comes to their access to agricultural extension services as their needs are often ignored and more attention paid to men farmers. Indirect beneficiaries are youth, ages 18 to 25 who are hired as youth agricultural information workers.
How Agric-P.O.W.E.R. works
Agric-P.O.W.E.R. delivers relevant agricultural information to beneficiaries through trusted channels; other women in their community and agricultural information workers, who use appropriate technology like mobile phones and open source software like Nokia Data Gathering, and face-to-face interaction to educate the women on how to adopt several high yield and insect resistant crops while opening their access to lucrative regional markets.
The impact of access to this platform is two-fold. First, it provides viable jobs for youth in the community who will be hired as intermediaries brokering and delivering information using appropriate technology devices. This approach will leapfrog the bureaucracy and bottlenecks that plague agricultural extension services in many developing countries and will reduce youth unemployment. Secondly, the social impact of providing women farmers with the financial skills, business training and support they need to create agri-businesses and gain access to regional markets for their products is significant as they channel their newly renewed empowerment and income to educating their children.
A deliberately women-centered micro-consignment model is used for the distribution of high yield produce and relevant technology tools. This direct sales network will be strengthened by the natural circles of the women’s family, friends and communities.
- Encourage a more participatory approach in improved agriculture by women by giving them core business, financial literacy and life skills to sustain their families.
- Ensure equitable access to productive resources and extension services.
- Design customized implementation strategies that incorporate the socio-cultural characteristics of the beneficiaries.
No other agricultural program that exists in Nigeria that is targeted primarily towards women, widowed farmers and their contribution to this sector. Agric-P.O.W.E.R. innovation directly impacts the information gap and the youth unemployment crises.
By 2018, Agric-P.O.W.E.R will have impacted over one million rural women farmers in Nigeria.
An interesting infographic about agricultural production by women (and men) in Africa