Standard Bank and UN Women have come together to equip African women in agriculture with skills and resources to grow their businesses for long term success.
In October last year, the two organisations partnered to empower more than 50,000 women in South Africa, Uganda, Malawi and Nigeria through modern and environmental friendly farming technologies that increase incomes and productivity.
Local farmer organisations and cooperatives, women farmers and authorities are now able to address structural inequalities in rural economies in Africa, beginning with difficulties that women face in securing tenure for quality farmland through the Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) collaboration.
Funding worth $3 million has been provided by Standard Bank as well as ongoing support through financial literacy and other programmes.
“The CSA project supports Standard Bank’s drive to create a gender-equal Africa and aligns with our purpose of driving the continent’s growth. We believe it will meaningfully contribute to the upliftment of communities and the achievement of sustainable economic growth across Africa.” Said Sola David-Borha, Chief Executive of Africa Regions at Standard Bank Group.
“This project is closely aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly when it comes to gender equality, access to decent work, and economic growth,” said Dr Vera Songwe, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa.
In Malawi close to 6,000 female farmers have received support in the use of high-yield and drought-resistant groundnut seeds, use of market information and financial literacy sessions, implementation of modern farming methods that conserve moisture and maximise land-use and the adoption of modern farming technologies.
The project is currently supporting 2,300 women in Nigeria on increasing the productivity and profitability of their operations within the rice and shea nut value chains.
In the first six months of this year, the project delivered agricultural inputs to 2,753 women farmers in South Africa while in Uganda 700 women have been equipped with the skills and technologies needed to run successful aquaculture operations.
“Women are the very backbone of rural economies and care of families and communities. Yet their contributions are undervalued and needs to be sufficiently acknowledged. Women’s economic empowerment is central to attaining gender equality and it is a prerequisite for inclusive and sustainable development. UN Women is committed to this expansion of this programme,” said Roberta Clarke, Senior Advisor, UN Women East and Southern Africa.