Women who make up 70 percent of the Nigerian Agriculture sector’s workforce often miss out on opportunities to operate as a business.
Ladi Danjuma from Niger State is one of them, but she has been able to not only scale up her agri-business but also impact her community emerging as one of the Alluvial Gender Champions.
With over ten years of experience in agriculture, Ladi had little or no training essential to business growth.
“Most of the information I have received for my business growth are either from personal experiences or what I have seen other people do. I have not gotten the opportunity to access formal training,” says Ladi, 41.
The Gender Champions are trained to serve as trainers providing step-down training to women lead farmers. The objectives are to help build these farmers’ capacities in farm records keeping, savings, debt financing, and managing their group dynamics to better leverage opportunities.
These lead farmers are then tasked with passing down these skills to members of their groups/collectives.
Naona Usoroh, ESG lead at Alluvial explained when she said, “In year 1, we carried out a needs assessment survey, where we sampled 600 female farmers spread across all the project locations. This is what informed our decision to focus on building capacities around key money skills.”
“The Gender Champions were able to directly train over 500 women lead farmers, who collectively have 6000+ members,” Usoroh added.
Ladi is among the 50 women and men who have benefited from the Gender Champions training.
“With this training, we have helped female smallholder farmers in my community keep proper records of their business. One of the lead farmers recently discovered she had made a loss in her small paddy farm business. With what we taught her, she can now make better decisions. It makes me glad to be able to change lives no matter how small,” Ladi said.
Sonia Bakura, 38, Kaduna state, one of the newly inducted Gender Champions, expressing her excitement said, “You are making the internet more interesting for me. Before now, I’ve never attended any zoom meeting, but through the group, I now know how to participate in virtual meetings.”
In the just concluded workshop, the Champions were trained on how to effectively use their smart devices to collaborate as teams, get information, capture data and create content.
Usoroh further stated that the vision is to significantly narrow down the financial inclusion gap and build the resilience of female smallholder farmers.
“The financial and digital divides are widening and it is skewed unfavorably against women. We have to be intentional about implementing interventions to closing these gaps, and targeting women specifically because when a woman is empowered with the skills necessary for growth, the effect trickles down to her household, and her children directly, especially in terms of quality education and enhanced nutrition.
“Lives and livelihoods are better and this also positively impacts communities,” she said.
The Gender Champions activity is part of Alluvial’s gender-responsive strategy under the gender component of an overarching project that Alluvial is executing in partnership with Mastercard Foundation. Through the foundation’s support, Alluvial is providing critical resources to 65,000 farmers across several states in Nigeria to produce paddy, maize, soybeans, sesame, and cowpea.