By Ayo Alonge
The Support to Women Entrepreneurship in the Agri-food Sector in Nigeria (SEFAN/SWEAN) has developed a model for stakeholders to empower women in agribusiness in Kaduna and Oyo states.
Stakeholders from Federal Institute of Industrial Research (Oshodi), Nigerian Stored Product Research Institute (NSPRI), Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON), Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAF- DAC), came together in the two-day ‘writeshop’ organised by the SEFAN/SWEAN project, in collaboration with IITA.
Held recently, the training is in line with the fulfilment of the project’s mandate over the next 16 months.
Stakeholders identified key messages and strategic support to pass on to women in the agrifood sector to empower them in their food production, processing, and business ventures.
The project is in partnership with Oyo and Kaduna State Government Development Programmes and is funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs in Nigeria.
According to the Project Manager, Zainatou Sore, ”the project targets women entrepreneurs from often marginalised groups who are involved in different sectors of the agricultural value chain from farm to table.”
A professor of Food Science and Technology and Project Manager of the BASICS-II project in IITA, Lateef Sanni, moderated the writeshop, interactively engaging and getting contributions from the participants. He said the train- ing manual to be developed at the end of the writeshop would cover the specific sec- tors women in agribusiness had requested training on.
Presenters from the different institutions brought out developmental issues in the areas requested by the women in the agrifood sector, notably: food processing and fortification, branding and packaging, regulation and certification, standards, market and export opportunities, leadership, team building, and financial management that would help the women advance and become successful in their agribusiness ventures.
The first set of women would be trained in two locations in Ibadan by experts in the various fields highlighted. Collaboration with cooperatives was also suggested to be incorporated into the deliverables for the women to en- able them to access loans and other cooperative benefits to drive their business success- fully.