CHAIRMAN of the Agric arm of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mrs Edobong Akpabio, Friday canvassed strategic support for African women in agribusiness and provision of access to funds.
Mrs Akpabio, who also runs Visionage Agrotech Farms Limited and Organic Green Animalia Farms Limited, two notable Agribusiness organisations, lives in Lagos, leads Nigerian women groups in her energetic drive to improve participation in agriculture.
Prime Business Africa had reported African Development Bank’s (AFDB’s) plan to provide $150 million to finance African women in agricultural sector by the end of 2021.
The Bank’s Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Dr Beth Dunford, had noted that the opportunity was essential in empowering women and African economies, particularly for growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), poverty reduction and structural transformation for sustainable development.
But, in a special dialogue with Prime Business Africa on Friday, Ms Akpabio reacted to the AfDB ‘grant’ of $150m for women in Agri-business. She said it would improve productivity and bring about economic development.
“This gesture will not only improve and increase productivity of women in agriculture, but will also boost the economic development of Africa as a whole,” Akpabio said.
The “Lagos number one farmer,” as she is fondly called, believes the full and strategic disbursement of the AfDB $150m fund for female agripreneurs would reduce unmployment and general poverty rate.
The LCCI chairperson also told Prime Business Africa that women in agriculture faced many challenges and obstacles, including lack of access to land and training.
Other major challenges, according to Akpabio, are little or no education, gender discrimination and lack of suitable working conditions.
She said African women would need a robust legal infrastructure that protects them from economic discrimination and called on African governments to intentionally provide improved access to agriculture as well as extension services that include vocational education.
AfDB’s Dunford had said that women played an important role in agriculture and agribusiness and required more robust and responsive regulatory and policy frameworks for countries to benefit from their contributions.
LCCI’s Akpabio, therefore, harped on the need for improved access to financial education, among others.
“It is true that women play a pivotal role in agriculture and agribusiness and that they do require more robust and responsive regulatory and policy frameworks for their countries to get the benefits from their contributions,” Akpabio said.