Across Africa, a growing number of women farmers have a secret: incredible success.
These women are not just farmers. They are also legal land owners, job creators, house builders, agriculture trainers and proud mothers of children going to university. Many women are building successful careers in agriculture, giving them the opportunity to invest in their children and their communities, and lifting themselves out of poverty.
But for the majority of women farmers, life is much harder - lack of support by government is sitting on their success. Although they make up almost half the agricultural workforce in Africa, they aren’t getting the same level of support and investment as men from government and other development programmes. Find out why and what changes we are calling for.
Liberata, Anne and Maria are women farmers who are doing well. The secret of their success? Investment. They have all been given an opportunity to build their businesses and escape poverty through agriculture.
This International Women’s Day, we’re asking you to share the secret and empower women by signing our DO AGRIC petition. We’re calling for African leaders to invest in agriculture and support smallholder farmers, especially women, so they can escape poverty and build brighter futures.
This is how 3 women farmers are making agriculture pay.
Liberata lives in Kabushinge, Rwanda, with her husband and six children. Five years ago, a partnership between the Government of Rwanda and Landesa meant she became aware of her right to legally own the land her family had farmed for generations.
Having a title deed meant she didn’t have to worry about neighbours trying to take her land, and began to invest in better fertiliser. Her harvest of corn and sweet potatoes has improved, and she also grows beans and bananas. Her children are getting a balanced diet and she can afford to send them to school.
Land rights have transformed Liberata’s life. Share her secret and tell leaders to DO AGRIC now.
Anne lives in Kisiwa, western Kenya, with her husband and seven children, two of which are adopted. Their main income is from farming, and earning enough to pay for school fees has been a challenge. But after joining One Acre Fund, she received a package of investment including access to credit (allowing her to buy fertiliser and seed), and training on diversifying crops and planting techniques.
In one season, Anne’s harvest of maize more than doubled from 4 bags to 10 bags. And in diversifying to grow millet, she produced 270kg which was 90kg more than expected. This success means all her children are getting an education, and her eldest son Briston is studying towards an engineering degree at college – the highest level of education ever achieved in the family.
Anne says, “I did not guess he would have an interest in engineering, but I didn’t want to choose any course for him. I wanted him to choose his future for himself, and I think he will do well.”
Credit and training has transformed Anne’s life. Share her secret and tell leaders to DO AGRIC now.
“Mwanaidi gave me new seeds and taught me how to grow orange sweet potatoes. She taught me about soil irrigation, crop multiplication, about dividing vines – the things we didn’t know before”, says Maria.
Helped with advice on promoting her produce at the market, Maria now also makes and sells chips, biscuits, doughnuts and pancakes, all made from the sweet potatoes she grows.
“I am now a leader in my farming group and teach others what I have learned.
I work happily knowing I will be getting out of poverty by doing what I am doing. The dream is to finish the house I am building out of brick stones, to sleep in a comfortable place, to raise the standard of living for my children and grandchildren and send them all to school.”
Training has transformed Maria’s life. Share her secret and tell leaders to DO AGRIC now.
Access to land, credit and training has transformed these women’s lives. Celebrate the success that these women have achieved on farms – and the potential that millions more have to join them this International Women’s Day by taking action – share the secret and DO AGRIC, it pays!
You can also get the facts about why women farmers in Africa urgently need more investment in this post by our policy expert Arathi.