Women in Agriculture

African Women are the guardians of food security and nutrition and a crucial force within the agricultural sector. It is a well-known fact that emergent farmers have difficulties in entering markets due to the low quality, low quantities and inconsistencies of their products and supplies. This has had a tremendous effect on satisfying the requirements of the end buyers and markets thus creating a natural barrier to entry of existing and potential markets.

African women represent 52% of the total population in agriculture, are responsible for approximately 75% of the agricultural labour force, and produce 60 to 80% of the food, yet women’s productivity is 30% lower than men’s’ because women lack access to vital inputs.[1] Furthermore they are often excluded from the business side of agriculture and are excluded from the most profitable segments of value chains. Their minimal access to resources such as land, credit and technology hamper their capacity to leverage agricultural production into business opportunities, has left women within the realm of subsistence. In the coming years the Agribusiness sector will navigate a rapidly shifting, and in many ways an increasingly challenging context. The sector will face increased demand for

[1] FAO 20, Women in agriculture: closing the gender gap for development.

Text Box: Anakazi Women in Agriculture Workshops- equipment demonstration

In the coming years the Agribusiness sector will navigate a rapidly shifting, and in many ways an increasingly challenging context. The sector will face increased demand for agricultural products, a decline in the availability of arable land, effects of climate change, technical advances, a decline in the traditional labor force, and as we are now seeing with the launching of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), a pivot from global to regional value chains.

Navigating these complex trends will mean seizing new ways to increase the productivity and efficiency of Agribusiness value chains. One promising way to contribute to both goals is to provide gender smart solutions through platforms and networks that promote Trade and Agribusiness development.

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Women work largely on family owned land, with little or no remuneration, and the number of women with land ownership is significantly lower than those of men. There is need to address the barriers that reduce the participation of women along the agricultural value chain, from production through to processing and trade. This is pivotal in transforming the role of women in the sector and in empowering them economically


Women control quite a significant segment of Trade in Africa.

 “Expanded accessible markets is a critical condition for success in building viable and therefore successful entrepreneurs are important across the continents industrialization ambitions and goals”[1]

We note challenges with payment processing tools that allow businesses to transact efficiently online within the regions and globally. Without these payment tools, women are unable to collect payments from International customers therefore limiting their ability to market beyond their borders or regions.

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Text Box: Women from Chad at the Anakazi Expo in Los Angeles, California

Women in Trade face additional challenges to global integration and growth prospects due to Zambia’s lack of direct sea access. Studies show that (1) landlocked countries trade less (on average 30 percent less) than coastal countries) ;(2) landlocked countries experience weaker growth than maritime countries (being landlocked reduces average growth by about 1.5 percent). MacKellar, Wörgötter, and Wörz (2002) highlight, for instance, that crossing a border entails very high transaction costs due to customs and handling charges. Therefore, being landlocked is associated with increased import prices and reduced export revenues. Transportation costs, therefore, heavily affects Zambian women in trade.


Challenge for Innovation & Creativity

Innovation in Africa remains tested by issues that restrict access to capital and is further bound by poor technical manpower and inadequate infrastructure. Here are five priorities that African governments should focus on to ensure the continent’s continued growth as an innovation economy.

1. Access to Capital: Studies show that one of the most pressing issues facing entrepreneurs in Africa is lack of access to the capital that would allow them to grow their businesses beyond very local, informal markets.

2.   The need to develop new technology which can be used to process the raw materials from local natural resources and with a view to producing goods and services from them.

3. The need to adapt existing technology so as make them accept local materials as substitutes.  A complete change from an almost total dependence on foreign research and technology is source of products is called for.

4. Inclusion of women and girls in economic development.Women and girls in Africa are often excluded from discussions around innovation. But their voice matters and without the inclusion of African women and girls in such discussions, whether of that involving technology, sustainable development, or innovation — change cannot happen. Women and girls face additional challenges due to culture, customs, and in some cases, laws that inherently favor men over women.

Text Box: Young Anakazi Interns.

5. Creating an enabling environment for the Youth. Innovation needs an enabling environment. This means creating hubs where innovators can meet, share ideas, and collaborate. The youth need a space where ideas can be incubated and where prototypes can be developed. Without this, we are bound to fail as a continent. Anakazi has operated primarily online leveraging affordable online platforms to provide business development support to women entrepreneurs, while this has worked for the initial development of our mission, there’s a need to balance this approach by adding gender smart business and technology/innovation hubs/incubators to our strategic direction.


Having a mentor is necessary for young women to develop, as mentors provide specific skills, knowledge, and abilities to help groom for success, provide strategic business advice and assists with the tools to negotiate and conquer the corporate and business terrain.

Absorption of Youth into Sustainable Employment is a priority: Currently the number of youths that is being formally trained and released into the economy is much higher than the capacity of the formal employment sectors ability to absorb. Added to the already high number of uneducated youths that are unemployed this has led to an alarmingly high rate of youth unemployment. Entrepreneurship is a key strategy to absorbing those that are not formally employed into self-employment through start up enterprise support and activities.

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Description automatically generatedThe Young Anakazi Career and Entrepreneurship Programs aims to achieve these objectives with the following goals:

  • Increase girls’ sense of self-worth.
  • Improve girls’ perspective toward education, career and business.
  • Help girls develop and define their short-term and long-term goals.
  • Provide them with positive support and encouragement.
  • Text Box: Through Anakazi mentorship, Precious developed a network to empower HIV Positive Youth. She raises awareness on adherence and steps to becoming undetectable. U=U
    Help them become self-sufficient, motivated adults.

Young women under this program are connected to mentorship opportunities in job interviewing skills, entrepreneurship training, HIV Support groups, and other business mentors as needed.

Anakazi Center emphasizes the importance of bringing light to the various issues facing women in Africa. Women often face considerable challenges due to the influences of economic disenfranchisement, limited education and traditional practices that foster gender inequality. Conversely, playing the central role of nurturing and caring for the family, women also have unique advantages in being key influencers. Anakazi Center strives to be an avenue for change by providing strategic support of high-impact cause

Advocacy through Voice of Anakazi: Anakazi hosts a Radio program that features discussion topics ranging from current events, policy and reforms and campaigns of note to the opportunities and challenges of women enterprises.

Text Box: Positive Runway collaborated with Anakazi to raise awareness to stop the spread of HIV at Anakazi Conference in Los Angeles, California

Over 200 African women leaders and experts in various fields have been interviewed on Voice of Anakazi since its inception. These leaders also serve as mentors to the Young Anakazi programs.

Anakazi provides domestic violence financial management training, mentorship support to HIV support groups for young women, and raises awareness for women with disabilities.

Sustainable Development Goals highlight key issues to end poverty and ensuring healthy lives for women and girls with Disabilities. Women and girls with disabilities face multiple barriers to realizing their rights: environmental, physical and informational accessibility issues, including lack of resources and inadequate access to services, as well as widespread discrimination, stereotyping and social stigma. Although Nkole faces all these barriers, she is determined to pursue her dream of becoming a Moringa farmer. Nkole graduated as a top student in the Anakazi Entrepreneurship Bootcamp where she picked Moringa as a business. She pursued

Text Box: Nkole Chanda in her Moringa Garden

[1] Keynote speech by Dr. Makayi at the 3rd Conference for Women in Agribusiness in Durban, South Africa