AGRA has announced the winners of the 2023 Women Agripreneurs of the Year Awards (WAYA2023) at the Africa Food Systems Forum, AGRF2023 held in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.
These winners have illuminated the path to excellence through their groundbreaking innovations driving transformative growth in the agricultural sector across Africa.
Women are the backbone of agriculture in Africa. They comprise over 50 percent of agricultural labour force in developing countries. These numbers underscore the importance of ensuring that women smallholder farmers enjoy a level playing field, that why Value4her exists, to appreciate and support women in agriprenuership.
This year’s heroines hail from from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and Senegal received a total of US85,000 in grant funding during the ceremony in the categories of; Outstanding Value Adding Enterprise, Female Ag Tech Innovator, Young Female Agripreneur (Rising Star), and Grand Prize.
Women Agriprenuer of the Year Award (WAYA), currently in its third edition was launched in 2021 at the AGRF Summit in Nairobi, Kenya. It is an important part of AGRA’s VALUE4HER program. WAYA recognizes women agripreneurs from across the continent, who have excelled in different segments of the agricultural value chain and have shown remarkable innovation in their businesses. The awards aim to create visibility for successful women, serving as positive role models, stimulating innovation, and fostering ambition among African women agri-preneurs.
This year, the four exceptional winners were selected from a pool of 1,340 candidates spanning 42 African countries, all of whom, are recognized for their commitment to shaping the future of agri-food systems through pioneering new ideas, technologies, and sustainable practices to positively impact their communities. This formidable task was spearheaded by a panel of resolute and experienced judges that included: Betty Kiplagat, the Government Affairs Leader for Africa & the Middle East at Corteva; Binta Touré Ndoye, a pan-African banker; Caroline Emond, the CEO of International Dairy Federation; Marieme Esther Dassanou, the Director of Gender Programs at MasterCard Foundation; and Judy Matu, the National Executive Chairlady at AWAK.
Speaking at the Awards ceremony, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, president of AGRA congratulated the remarkable laureates for their dedication towards transforming challenges into opportunities and re-shaping the landscape of Africa’s agro food systems. She added that “Over the past two editions, we have witnessed remarkable stories of resilience, innovation, and unwavering dedication. These women have demonstrated their ability to drive positive change, inspire their communities, and contribute significantly to food security, climate adaptation, economic growth, and sustainable development. Their journeys inspire us all and stand as a testament to the incredible potential that lies within every individual, regardless of their gender”.
The winners of the Women Agripreneurs of the Year Awards 2023 are:
Grand Prize Winner- Siny Samba, CEO, Le Lionceau (Senegal) – The award recognizes the female owned agri-business that exhibits the best innovations in the agri-business sector across all the categories.
Young Female Agripreneur (Rising Star) – Lucy Chioma Aniagolu, the founder, Agrodemy Enterprises, (Nigeria) – The award recognizes high-potential young females (below 35 years) demonstrating innovation and leadership in agribusiness.
Female Ag Tech Innovator – Maryanne Ruguru Gichanga, Director, AgriTech Analytics (Kenya) – The award recognizes female agripreneurs championing technological advancement in agribusiness.
Outstanding Value-adding Enterprise – Bernice Dapaah, CEO, Bright Generation Community Foundation- Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative (Ghana) – The award recognizes female-owned agribusinesses that are increasing the economic value and/or consumer appeal to agricultural products.
The VALUE4HER Women Agripreneurs of the Year Awards (WAYA) is a prestigious recognition initiative led by AGRA and launched in 2021 as part of AGRA’s flagship VALUE4HER program, which aims to empower women agripreneurs across Africa. WAYA honors exceptional African female agripreneurs who have achieved excellence within the agricultural value chains and showcased remarkable innovation in contributing to food security, climate resilience, and the empowerment of women and youth. Through the WAYA initiative, AGRA strives to inspire and empower a new generation of women agripreneurs, driving sustainable and impactful change in the agricultural sector across Africa.
Value4Her is AGRA’s continental initiative, aimed at increasing the performance of women agri-enterprises, through access to markets and trade, finance and investments, knowledge and skills, networking and building women’s collective voice. The initiative is powered by VALUE4HERConnect, Africa’s first women in agribusiness integrated digital resource, designed to assist women agri-enterprises transcend gender and market entry barriers, built upon digital technologies.
Founded in 2006, AGRA is an African-led African-based organization that seeks to catalyze Agriculture Transformation in Africa. AGRA is focused on putting smallholder farmers at the center 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.