AGRA contest to reward innovation and business excellence in agricultural value chains




AGRA has launched a call for applications for the 2023 Women Agripreneurs of the Year Awards (WAYA) that recognise African female agripreneurs demonstrating remarkable innovation and business excellence in agricultural value chains.

The winning agripreneurs, who will be unveiled during the 2023 AGRF Summit, will receive a total of $85,000 in grant funding. To be eligible for WAYA, businesses must be operating in an agriculture or agribusiness value chain, be a legal entity registered in a country that is a member state of the African Union, and at least 51% owned and managed by one or more women who are citizens of one of the 55 African countries. Entries are submitted online on this link until May 31, 2023.

Applications are being received in three categories: Young female Agripreneur (for those under the age of 35 years and have demonstrated innovation and leadership in business); Outstanding Value Adding Enterprise (for female-owned agribusinesses that are increasing the economic value and/or consumer appeal to agricultural products); and Female Ag-Tech Innovator (those championing technological advancement in agribusiness); and an Overall Grand Prize winner will be determined as the candidate that demonstrates the best potential for scale.

Speaking at the launch event, AGRA’s VP for Strategic Partnerships & Chief of Party, Vanessa Adams, said: “Women’s participation and recognition in this agriculture sector has been historically overlooked. That’s why we believe it’s essential to shine a spotlight on women who are making a significant contribution to the agricultural industry through their innovation, leadership, and entrepreneurship. By recognising the undeniable contribution of women to African food systems, we hope to inspire and encourage more women to pursue careers in the agricultural sector”.

Last year, Oluyemisi Iranloye, the Managing Director of Psaltry International from Nigeria, scooped the Overall Grand Prize for her cassava processing initiative. Fatou Manneh, the Founder of Jelmah Herbella, from The Gambia, won in the Young Female Agripreneur category; Uwintwari Liliane, the CEO of Mahwi Tech from Rwanda, won the Female Ag Tech Innovator; and Célia Chabi, the CEO of KIEL BIEN-ÊTRE from Benin won in the Outstanding Value Adding Enterprise category.

Founded in 2006, AGRA is an African-led African-based organization that seeks to catalyse Agriculture Transformation in Africa. AGRA is focused on putting smallholder farmers at the centre of the continent’s growing economy by transforming agriculture from a solitary struggle to survive into farming as a business that thrives. As the sector that employs the majority of Africa’s people, nearly all of them small-scale farmers, AGRA recognizes that developing smallholder agriculture into a productive, efficient, and sustainable system is essential to ensuring food security, lifting millions out of poverty, and driving equitable growth across the continent.

The VALUE4HER Women Agripreneurs of the Year Awards (WAYA) is an AGRA led recognition initiative launched in 2021 under AGRA’s flagship VALUE4HER initiative that seeks to strengthen women agripreneurship in Africa. The Women Agripreneurs of the Year Awards (WAYA) recognizes African female agripreneurs who have excelled in the agricultural value chains and have demonstrated remarkable innovation by contributing positively towards food security, climate resilience, women and youth empowerment. The awards aim to create visibility for successful women and promote them as positive role models, trigger innovation, and spur ambition among women agripreneurs.

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