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[Facilitator’s Note: Please find below a message from Atsuko Toda, Director for Agricultural Finance and Rural Development at the African Development Bank who will facilitate Phase 3 of this discussion.]

Click here to add new comment and read other contributions.

Dear colleagues,

I extend sincere thanks to Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg and Tacko Ndiaye for their moderation of phase one and phase two of this discussion. I am honored to launch the third and final phase of our online discussion: Feed Africa: Gender in the Transformation of Africa’s Agriculture.

This final phase of our discussion will examine the Gender equality in agriculture finance and will take place from 11 - 24 July. It will be hosted on the AfDB Gender in Practice Community of Practice (GiP CoP) platform.

Across the African continent, women working in agriculture have little access to financial resources and services that enable them to become prosperous as farmers. They face greater time constraints than men; as well as sociocultural norms and constraints that limit their mobility, and ability to fully participate in the sector.

Women are also subject to gender specific constraints including lack of resources, lack of access to credit, lack of access to producer networks, transportation, other necessary inputs. they face gender bias in rural and extension services, as well as financial services, as they are still perceived as helping hands and not “real” farmers. They often lack the ability to post hard collateral for loans -which are necessary in the resource intensive agriculture sector. In addition to socio-cultural constraints which limit their activities in the agriculture sector; women face constraints with training and capacity building opportunities as well as membership in producer organizations. These unique challenges make access to finance a much bigger challenge for women compared to men in the agriculture sector.

The Bank adopted the “Strategy for Agricultural Transformation in Africa 2016-2025”, i.e. the Feed Africa Strategy, which seeks to drive the agricultural transformation on the continent. Success in the achievement of poverty reduction and elimination of hunger as part of the Feed Africa strategy is dependent on an approach that embraces women as “real” farmers and ensures that agriculture finance mechanisms and processes do not prevent them from achieving prosperity as farmers and contributing fully to the transformation of Africa’s agriculture.

It is crucial to understand and correct women’s challenges in agriculture finance.

This phase will explore the questions below:

  • What are the main challenges to gender equality in agriculture finance?
  • What has been done – by the AfDB, DFIs and stakeholders - to address the gender gap in agriculture finance? Which financing mechanisms could be successfully used to tackle gender equality in agriculture finance?
  • How can the Bank address these challenges, as it works to bolster food security on the continent?
  • What experiences and lessons could be used to buttress the effectiveness of the Bank’s interventions in this area?

You can participate in this discussion through either of the methods below:

All contributions submitted during the online discussion will be disseminated to all members and posted online. We encourage you to take part in this online discussion to examine challenges and devise solutions to tackle gender inequality in the agriculture sector.

I look forward to energized and thoughtful exchanges!



English | Français

[Note du facilitateur: Veuillez trouver ci-dessous un message de Atsuko Toda, Directeur du Financement Agricole et du Développement Rural à la Banque Africaine de Developpement qui facilitera la phase 3 de cette discussion.]

Cliquer ici pour ajouter un commentaire et lire les contributions.

Chers collègues,

Je remercie sincèrement Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg et Tacko Ndiaye pour leur modération de la première phase et deuxième phase de cette intéressante discussion. C’est avec honneur que j’amorce la troisième et derniere phase de notre discussion en ligne : Nourrir l’Afrique : L’égalité entre les sexes et la transformation de l’agriculture en Afrique.

Cette phase de la discussion se tiendra du 11 au 24 juillet et abordera l’inégalité entre les sexes dans le financement de l’agriculture. Elle se tiendra sur la plate-forme de la communauté de pratique GiP CoP de la BAD.

Sur le continent africain, les femmes agricultrices ont un accès limité aux ressources et aux services financiers qui leur permettraient de devenir prospères en tant qu'agricultrices. Elles font face à des contraintes de temps plus élevées que les hommes. Elles sont aussi sujettes à des normes et contraintes socioculturelles qui limitent leur mobilité et leur capacité à participer pleinement au secteur.

Les femmes sont également soumises à des contraintes spécifiques à leur sexe, y compris le manque de ressources, le manque d'accès au crédit, le manque d'accès aux réseaux de producteurs, aux services de transport, et aux intrants qui leur sont nécessaires. Elles sont confrontés à une partialité sexiste dans les services ruraux de vulgarisation agricole, ainsi que les services financiers, car elles sont encore perçues comme des mains aidantes et non de « vraies » agricultrices. Elles n'ont souvent pas la capacité de donner des larges garanties pour les prêts qui sont nécessaire dans le secteur de l'agriculture qui demande beaucoup de ressources. En plus des contraintes socioculturelles qui limitent leurs activités dans le secteur agricole ; les femmes sont confrontées à des contraintes dans le domaine de la formation et de renforcement des capacités ainsi que l'appartenance à des organisations de producteurs. Ces défis uniques rendent l'accès au financement un défi beaucoup plus grand pour les femmes que les hommes dans le secteur agricole.

La BAD a adopté la « Stratégie pour la transformation agricole en Afrique 2016-2025 », c'est-à-dire la Stratégie pour nourrir l’Afrique, qui vise à concevoir et à diriger la transformation agricole sur le continent . La réussite dans la réalisation de la réduction de la pauvreté et l'élimination de la faim dans le cadre de la stratégie pour nourrir l’Afrique dépend d'une approche qui englobe les femmes comme de «vraies» agricultrices et veille à ce que les mécanismes et les processus de financement agricole ne les empêchent pas de prospérer dans leur métier et de contribuer pleinement à la transformation de l'agriculture africaine.

Il est essentiel de comprendre et de corriger les défis des femmes dans le financement agricole. Aussi, cette phase de notre discussion explorera des questions suivantes :

  • Quels sont les principaux défis pour l'égalité des sexes dans le domaine du financement agricole ?
  • Qu'est-ce qui a été fait - par la BAD, les IFD et parties prenantes - pour remédier à l'écart entre les sexes dans le financement de l'agriculture ? Quels mécanismes de financement pourraient être utilisés avec succès pour lutter contre l'inégalité entre les sexes dans le financement de l'agriculture ?
  • Comment la Banque dans le cadre de la Stratégie pour nourrir l'Afrique, peut-elle aborder ces défis tout en renforçant la sécurité alimentaire sur le continent ?
  • Quelles expériences et leçons pourraient servir à renforcer l'efficacité des interventions de la BAD dans ce domaine ?

Vous pouvez participer à cette discussion par l'une des méthodes ci-dessous :

Nous vous encourageons à participer à cette discussion en ligne pour examiner les défis et concevoir des solutions pour lutter contre les inégalités entre les sexes dans le secteur de l'agriculture. Toutes les contributions soumises dans cette discussion seront diffusées à tous les membres et publiées en ligne.

J’attends avec intérêt nos échanges dynamiques sur ces questions !



Demba N's picture



Anticipatively some inputs in previous discussion threads addressed most of this financing aspect of the equation ahead… As most can’t help pointing out the issue without proposing alternatives, solutions to the road forward; having this financing topic by itself will surely help in devising specific action items worth considering by the Bank. As central it is that it can be noticed, at the end of the day, despite all the potential here and there, bringing forth a Gender in the Transformation of Africa’s Agriculture work requires non-conventional financing, at least in the underwriting process.             

Specific to the areas covered herein, to my opinion, for substantial answers to the questions below, as outlined, and in a telegraphic sort of response:

Question: What are the main challenges to gender equality in agriculture finance?

Response: Among other structural and systemic disconnects, inadequate accounting systems, in sync with conventional solvency models to commercial financing, mostly prevalent in our immediate contexts in Africa. In addition to that, conflicting donor priorities to name the least, causing various beneficiaries development agenda in the end, for same region or vicinity considered.

Question: What has been done – by the AfDB, DFIs and stakeholders - to address the gender gap in agriculture finance?

Response: Pending accurate inventory of full spectrum of financial mechanisms lately involved, it’s safe to say that the gender gap in Africa hasn’t been subject to a specific response from the donor community so to speak, in terms of specific financing only targeted to the gap by itself. However as an add-on to existing funding schemes, gender inclusion has been conditional to most donor schemes since the 2000s, right after the fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing: Action for Equality, Development and Peace was the name given for such a conference convened by the United Nations poised to shifting the whole paradigm on women in development.

Question: Which financing mechanisms could be successfully used to tackle gender equality in agriculture finance?

Response: Based on existing data on Women role in agriculture at large, the reverse mechanism principle can be applied hereby: it’s not about proving if women in agriculture are solvent “clients” the proof is in the pudding and already tested (refer above examples of success stories in previous discussion threads, ie WAAPP-PPAAO project concept model), we’re at a phase where it’s more about providing the financing needed, with basic appropriate safeguards, in order to enhance, improve and upscale existing innovation platforms in the agricultural value chain spearheaded by women in Africa, due to their central function, role and reach within family, community and society at large!

Question: How can the Bank address these challenges, as it works to bolster food security on the continent?

Response: Among other structural and systemic disconnects leading to status quo of discriminatory financing between men and women, learning from precedence, Bank should be able to apply basic, minimum accountability standards to such target as women in Agricultural value chain, building form proven market and demand driven success across the continent. Food security is such a priority in Africa that financing cannot compare to financing of any other area of our daily lives. And knowing how women’ role is critical is all post-harvest portion of the value chain, should bring the bank to consider the non-conventional aspect of the expected model of financing towards its newest “target”. Many demographics are at play, that make such a move a must: illiteracy, disadvantaged social position, lack of basic environment to prepare to minimum accountability standards, making an overhaul coaching an all-time must through Outreach and Communication for Development.

Question: What experiences and lessons could be used to buttress the effectiveness of the Bank’s interventions in this area?

Response: As strongly highlighted in previous discussion threads, inventory of such success stories provide the best answer of all dos and don’ts the Bank can and should capitalize on with help of the few expertise available across the continent, putting strong emphasis on data mining, collection, and processing for best bet metrics programming in effective use of such data in the overall Gender in the Transformation of Africa’s Agriculture.



Mon  point de vue sur la question de l’appui financier pour les femmes agricultrices.

L'Agriculture étant le secteur primaire du développement d'un pays, doit être pris en compte dans les priorités d'un pays. Et les femmes sont beaucoup présentes dans ce secteur, mais malheureusement  ne sont pas prises en compte dans le Budget de l'état. Elles restent marginalisées sur les plans financiers.

 Mes points  de vue sont les suivants:

  • Prise en compte des femmes dans les prise de décision;
  • Appuier les projets des femmes dans le secteur de l'Agriculture, Environnement, commerce, pêche etc.;
  • Former les femmes en transformations des produits agricoles en général et non ligneux en particulier;
  • Réduire le taux d'An alphabétisation chez les femmes; 
  • Former à la recherche du financement des Micro projet.

Bien Cordialement 




Pour une phase pilote,

  • prioriser les jeunes femmes intérêssées à la production et transformation agricole.
  • Les faire participer à des formations et stages pratiques.
  • Créer une ligne de crédits spécifique aux femmes leur permattant d'avoir accès aux ressources financières.
  • Créer un centre d'aide et de suivi aux aides octroyés.  
  • Pour réussir efficacement l'intégration des femmes dans le secteur agricole et transformation, tout devra être spécifique aux femmes ( ligne de crédits, formation adéquate etc.).

Il ne s'agira pas d'une question du genre mais plutôt l'impact réel des femmes dans l'implication agricole et transformation.

C'est ensemble que nous pouvons relever les défis

Magdalene Wanza's picture



There are several institutions that offer financial assistance to agriculture. Men benefit quite alot because most have collateral that they use to access such resource. However, very few women have collateral to be able to access such finances.

Institutions need to make financial access to women more easier such as funding women groups. This has been happening but needs to be more upscaled. In return, women need to appreciate such initiatives and be educated on how to take advantage and utilization of such opportunities.

Yinka Adesola's picture



You have said it all. Its the men that have the collateral so has the requirement for the loan while the woman can not.

Also only few females in  agriculture are literate. They font have access to such information.

Women in Africa are generally believe to owns nothing . so all the work they do belong to the husband which means they can not use such to apply or seek for loan, grants or funds

The work that female do are always considered to be menial and mostly commonise therefore no one ever thought they need assistance in doing such work

Yinka Adesola's picture



You have said it all. Its the men that have the collateral so has the requirement for the loan while the woman can not.

Also only few females in  agriculture are literate. They font have access to such information.

Women in Africa are generally believe to owns nothing . so all the work they do belong to the husband which means they can not use such to apply or seek for loan, grants or funds

The work that female do are always considered to be menial and mostly commonise therefore no one ever thought they need assistance in doing such work

Germain DOSSOU's picture



Je vous remercie beaucoup pour les questions abordées dans ce cours.

Le finacement agricole est d'une importance capitale dans le développement du secteur pour la sécurité alimentaire et nutrinionnelle. Une attention particulière doit être portée sur l'accès des femmes au financement agricole, car c'est la couche la plus touchée et défavorisée.

Un financement est une opération permettant à un agent économique (Etat, entreprises, particuliers, etc…) de se procurer les ressources (à court, moyen ou long terme) nécessaires au financement de sa trésorerie ou de ses besoins d'investissement. Il peut prendre plusieurs formes : le financement bancaire ou la microfinance.

La Microfinance est définie comme l’offre de services financiers aux clients exclus du  système bancaire classique ou ne présentant pas suffisamment de garantie pour accéder aux services bancaires. Un diagnostic rapide révèle les éléments suivants:

- Femmes propriétaires de 48% des entreprises en Afrique;

- Selon la BAD, les femmes ne représentent que 20% de la population ayant accès à un compte bancaire;

- Difficultés d’accès des femmes au financement sont variées:

·         Manque de garanties,

·         Barrières juridiques et culturelles limitant l’accès à la propriété foncière et immobilière,

·         Réglementations discriminatoires,

·         Rareté de l’emploi dans le secteur formel,

·         Manque de produits financiers adaptés à leurs besoins et le fait que les banques ne comprennent pas véritablement les entreprises dirigées par des femmes ou encore les niches de marché qu’elles occupent,

·         Disparités de plus en plus marquées dans l''accès au financement expliquent la popularité croissante de la microfinance auprès des femmes

·         Les hommes sont plus nombreux que les femmes dans l’accès aux financements (Sossou, 2015). Ces dernières ne représentent que 8% des demandes acceptées contre 92 % d’hommes. Les conditions d'accès au crédit selon Sossou (2015) sont:

Face à ce tableau, des actions urgentes sont à développer. J'y reviens par la suite pour des propositions.

Germain M. DOSSOU
Expert en genre et développement
Coordonnateur ANaF-BENIN
Tél: 00229 97025285
Email: domeger2002@yahoo.fr

Nomsa Thabethe's picture



Provide financial support for agricultural projects that are managed by women such as:

  • providing money for buying and maintaining machinery,
  • delegate financial advisers who will ensure the better management of finances on their projects and
  • help them to save for the future and provide the insurance for the farm as a whole.





Les obstacles de l`entrepreneuriat féminin en agriculture en Afrique sont:

- La tradition a longtemps fait des femmes des accompagnateurs des maris au champs et agent transformateur des produits agricoles. Ainsi, l`homme, d`abord seul héritier des terres arables produit, le manioc, le maïs, le mil, l`igname, la patate douce, le riz, bref les céréales, les tubercules, les oléagineux etc et la femme s`occupe de sa transformation en farine, fufu, farine de maïs, du blé et sa transformation en repas pour la famille et pour la société.

- Manque d`information et de formation sur l`agroindustrie et l`entrepreneurial féminin.

- Manque de leadership féminin

- Manque de soutien politique et d`accès au crédit ou fond de soutien

- La sous estimation du métier d`agriculteur

- Manque d`engagement féminin

- Manque de terre arable pour le monde féminin, manque de politique de promotion économique du genre.

- Absence de politique d`équité/genre, la discrimination à l`égard de la femme.

Pour lever ses obstacles il faut:

- Une volonté politique

- Des réformes agraires pour la promotion de la femme: Une loi foncière nationale avec droit d`héritage de la femme.

La sensibilisation et la conscientisation des femmes et les hommes sur les avantages liés à l`entrepreneuriat féminin pour le foyer, à l`économie nationale voire mondiale, de même la sensibilisation du publique et des décideurs,

- Formation de la femme entrepreneur féminin en agroindustrie, en agriculture NAMA, en agroalimentaire, en leadership féminin, en gestion, en production, en conservation, en commerce national et international.

- Accompagneur la femme dans tous ces processus de son progrès

- les financer

Qui peuvent faire ce travail?

- Les maris doivent changer de mentalités à l`égard de la femme, accepter leur promotion

- Les gouvernements doivent promouvoir le convention de l`ONU relative à la promotion du genre et doivent être les premier défenseurs des droits de la femme. Initier des programmes de financement des femmes et des PME féminines.

- Les organisations féminines, la société civile, les ONGs sont des acteurs incontournables.

Nous tenons à remercier le Président Américain D. Trump, la Banque Mondial et la Chancelière Allemande A. Merkel pour l`initiative We-Fi , lancée le 8 Juillet 2017 à Hamburg au sommet des G20 qui est destinée à assurer l`autonomisation et promotion économique de la femme.

ONG: Amis des Etrangers au Togo (ADET)

BP: 20123 Lomé-Togo

Tel: +22899495859/92473495

Email: sossougadoss@gmail.com





Les femmes jouent un role tres important dans l'griculture en  Afrique noire et  surtout en milieu  rural ; elles  sont tres actives;  mais c'est vraiment dommage qu'elles ne puissent pas aller de l'avant à cause de la mauvaise repartition du financement.

Elles sont tres courageuses; elles possedent tous les atouts en matieres d'inniatives en matieres de transformation des produits agricoles; malheureusement par manque de financement n'arrive pas à tirer pleinement profit de leur production agricole. 

  • Aider les femmes en renforcemennt de capacité.
  • Organiser les femmes en groupement et les sensibiliser sur le plaidoyer afin qu'elles puisssent plaider leur cause haut et fort devant partout.
  • Aider les femmes avec des financements de taille
  • Encourager les femmes pour le developpement et le leadership
Lizzy Igbine's picture


Implimentation is key to archive success in gender related policies. Oftentimes programs end at the drawing point because it was not clearly stated how the implimentation is going to be. Top on the agenda will be, Who is the target audience, Where is the location of the audience, What is the need to be addressed.

These ponits are key to success and on the road to a critically planned Gender Investment.

For us in Nigeria, projects and programs are equated by the number of persons reached, and so poor delivery of programs are a big issue and causes distrust of Governance and multiplie revolutions.

Key points of succes should be aligned to program delivery to targeted groups. Other considerations are availability of funding.

Most times budgets come out late and little or no program will be executed in a whole year. It is pertinent to put into consideration the sourcing of funds as a way of ensuring performance.

And the issue of acceptability by major beneficiaries is highly recommended. As it drives the programs to good conclusions. Never the less the supervising officers should have adequate knowledge of their work and expectations for proper delivery and inpact analysis.

These and others are key instruments and success delivery mechanisms.


Demba N's picture



Good point Lizzy, and that’s an area of critical relevance… As I highlighted in my above post’ last paragraph, since monitoring plays a major role in what’s yet to come up from the AfDB, typical ways in which portfolio investees could be assisted, coached along include:

1-Advice in business and financial planning based on markets

2-Design, approval and implementation of financial safeguards at community level

3-Design. approval and implementation of marketing strategies

4-Layout of terms and conditions of sales and purchasing agreements with key outlets

5-Raising and maintaining operational criteria and quality control mechanism to regional standards

To name a few as of now, and given the developmental objectives of the AfDB, most accountability standards hitherto applied in conventional business models need to be revamped to fit the actual “target” when it comes to agricultural transformation mainly through gender sensitive approaches.

Yinka Adesola's picture



What has been done – by the AfDB, DFIs and stakeholders - to address the gender gap in agriculture finance? Which financing mechanisms could be successfully used to tackle gender equality in agriculture finance?

My view on the above topic is that we have only been hearing or reading of the AFDB, and DFIs finance support to women. I have never met a woman who had actually benefited from it in my vicinity yet I live and work in the rural area of Nigeria This finance and support arrangement are usually handled or headed by men who have no inkling of what exactly are the needs of the woman.

Because of this, the implementation are either lopsided or haphazardly implemented and hence there is no sustainability.

The best financing mechanism would be to work with legally registered women groups that have rural network. Most women in this group could hardly read or write but they have some representative who is also a member of the group. Empowering some set of women with technical and financial support will easily multiply because the women will broadcast the news to some other women to participate.

AFDB and other finance institutions should ensure they come to the level of rural women for their work to be productive. Without which funds will just be going down the drain.

I will also suggest they should work on project that could be sustained or replicated. Eg. Providing some machinery for women in group and insisting they use it together for not less than 100 women. Also they should be paying some token for the usage of such machine with which another one can be purchase for another group. In few years or months, the machinery would have gone round the locality with increase in production for the women group.

People should be accountable for whatever they are assisted with and they should be able to assist others too for the projects to have impacts and improve their lives in the long term. 



Défis des femmes sont nombreux. Y compris: 

  • Accès à la terre;
  • Être dans les prise de décision; 
  • Formation en technique culturale;
  • Pesanteur culturel;
  • Analphabétisme élevé; 
  • Égalité de chance etc.
  • Conception des solutions pour lutter contre inégalités entre les sexes dans le secteur  de l'agriculture:
  • Accès  de terres des femmes agricultrices.
  • Représentativité élevée des femmes dans les prises de décision. 
  • Former des femmes en Technique culturelle. 
  • Lutter contre le pesanteur culturel par la sensibilisation  des communautés. 
  • Alphabétisation pour être plus compétitive.
  • Opportunité de chance pour lutter  contre l'inégalité. 

Bien Cordialement 




If we are to identify and probably manage women's financial needs we have to look at women as complete units. Women as farmers, food processors, health providers, sisters, mothers, aunties, community members, daughters-in-law, sisters-in law, beauticians, transporters, water collectors, cooks, household heads, household management partners without budget, first aid providers, birth attendants, friends, to mention but a few.

Each of these offices have financial specific needs. 

Many banking agencies look at them as economic units who need money to enhance their businesses. when a woman gets a loan she may write the reason as to buy an input, before she reaches home she is informed that her brother is ill, wants to get married, or just needs money! She will take off that money and decide to operate at low scale. That is outrageous is it? 

I wish to highlight within the business realm the financial needs of women.
I specifically paint the picture of Janet who started a business of making herbal tea which is medicinal. She needed money to acquire a dryer for the herbs so that she can meet the products standards. There are many such products on the market but they are expensive and inappropriate for her circumstances. Because she is venturing into a 'new' area she needs transport for go to a technology development agency, she needs to grease the pocket of a scientist to enable her take time to listen to her as an interest that is unique, she needs to go with the scientist for technology evaluation, she needs to comeback severally, she needs to do trial productions, she needs marketing management skills, she needs to learn how to 'cooperate' with police at gates, she needs to register her business, she needs to manage her supply chains (read this to mean her produce and that which she buys form others), she needs to integrate all those and more activities and manage herself as a wife and mother etc.

Is it possible to write a financial plan with such funding requirements included? She is the one who coordinates and manages the innovation systems to glean information and use it for business development.

There is no one stop centre for new business start up or even those that comprehensive support. women are engaged in seasonal businesses meaning that if there is fresh maize, she will buy a sigiri and roast maize, if she goes to market to buy maize and finds dessert banana she buys that and may roast them concurrently. 

They say women are disorganized but how do you multitask in a systems so diverse and remain organized when you lack basic tools like a car or bicycle? The innovation system is very obtuse, productive resources inaccessible and most often in-appropriate. 

So women have personal financial needs, personal business financial needs, and social financial needs, and communal financial needs, cultural financial needs, and corruption financial needs, and environment management financial needs, to mention but a few. 

If we are to provide for women's financial needs we should streamline the innovation systems so that it is responsive. we should enhance integration of the traditional innovation system with the modern one.

I had earlier indicated that a women's desk is established in each ministry it should have a budget to be used and controlled by them to perform tele-training or immediate response to information needs. there are many organizational innovations that are not being used to enhance women's businesses. the mobile weekly markets are one such innovation where women sell and get access to  information to improve their businesses.

Holding technology exhibitions in such places would go a long way to cut costs for women's processing technology needs. Did you know that process aids and additives are the most important non-price factors preventing growth in food processing businesses that provides variety and ensures food security?

One hundred percent of most process aids and additives are imported and not commonly locally available. Is it any surprise that women produce food products only to lose them in high post harvest rates?

Women of the Arua Cassava Producers Association won a contract to supply fermented cassava flour to people Karamoja through the World Food Programme (WFP), they were supposed to demonstrate safety from  aflatoxins (globally controlled toxins). They have to travel with the sample to Kampala (Makerere University) to get their sample tested. This is a systemic financial need that should not go to women but government!

It is a financial need due to lack of choice not lack of knowledge. Women operate at the periphery of innovation and business chains where least information is provided or even accessible. Women have financial needs to coordinate the systems and glean information and use it for their business activities.

Deborah Wendiro
Chairperson - UGAWARD



Ma petite expérience de terrain m’a permis de noter que le financement de l’Agriculture en général et des femmes en particulier reste le principal de sa modernisation donc de sa durabilité. En effet, les banques et les institutions de microfinances recherchent le maximum de garantie pour octroyer un  crédit aux productrices cela à cause d’un problème de garantie à tort ou à raison. Parler de garantie à une femme rurale pour avoir un crédit agricole équivaut à dire que les femmes n’ont pas droit aux crédits.

Les principaux défis à l’égalité des sexes dans le financement de l’agriculture sont :

  • Le manque d’information sur les impacts d’une ligne de crédit sur leur activité;
  • Le faible niveau d’alphabétisation et post-alphabétisation (formation des femmes sur la mise en œuvre de leur activité);
  • La faible implication des femmes dans les structures de décisions et leur absence aux instances des organisations paysannes
  • La problématique de la garantie à apporter par les femmes ;
  • L’accès difficile de la terre pour les femmes ;
  • Le manque de main d’œuvre pour l’exécution des travaux ;
  •  Le manque de temps et la reconnaissance de leur statut d’agricultrice
  • L’absence de ressources financières et d’équipements ;
  • Absence de conseils appropriés et spécifiques à l’endroit des femmes ;
  • La mentalité « les femmes travaillant dans les exploitations agricoles ont été vues comme des femmes d’agriculteurs et non comme des agricultrices à part entière »
  • Etc.

Les mécanismes de financement qui pourraient utilisés avec succès pour lutter contre l’inégalité des sexes aux financements de l’agriculture :
Les principaux mécanismes à envisager sont :

  • L’alphabétisation et la post-alphabétisation des femmes sur les activités agricoles (formation) par exemple : l’émergence des centres de formation d’éducation non formelle où l’alphabétisation constitue le tronc commun de l’école et la spécialisation se fera avec le regroupement des stagiaires par groupe homogène d’activité : maraichages, piscicultures, avicultures, production végétales, arboricultures..). les formations se font en inter-campagne (trois mois maximum) sanctionnée d’attestation et la saison hivernale est mise à  profit pour la mise en œuvre des activités sur le terrain. Le recyclage se fera la campagne suivante. Ce mécanisme est un moyen de lutte contre même l’émigration à travers la lutte contre le chômage et la pauvreté.
  • L’implication des femmes dans les structures des organisations paysannes (associations, coopératives….) à travers les chefs d’exploitation
  • La participation effective des femmes aux différentes instances de ces organisations paysannes ;
  • La reconnaissance du statut des femmes agricultrices ;
  • Le renforcement de capacité organisationnelle des femmes (calendrier de travail) ;
  •  Le conseil à l’exploitation familiale (CEF) comme un des outils de vulgarisation agricole ;
  • La valorisation des produits agricoles à travers la mise en place des chaines de valeur organisées ce qui facilitera l’ouverture de ligne de crédit qui sera garantie par un mécanisme de commercialisation organisée et innovante des produits agricoles exemple : remboursement des crédits agricoles en nature);
  • La mise en route des systèmes de production agricole intégrée (production agricole et institution de microfinance intégrées) avec la mise en place d’un système d’assurance récolte…

En conclusion, l’éveil de conscience et le renforcement des capacités à tous les niveaux et particulièrement des femmes est un préalable à la lutte contre l’inégalité des sexes dans le financement des activités agricoles. Une femme bien informée, bien formée et bien équipée pourra présenter un plan d’affaire bancable et pourra bien discuter avec les hommes pour la mise en œuvre de ses activités.

L’expérience a toujours montré que les femmes sont plus crédibles en matière de remboursement du crédit que nous les hommes.



One critical conceptual misnomer is the concept of agriculture. What is agriculture? To what extent does a financial need become categorized as agricultural? If a woman is sick she cannot perform 'agricultural chores', is the money needed for treatment categorized as a financial need in agriculture?

I implemented a participatory study to identify traditional innovations that could be enhanced in the global market and found out that many are organizational innovations in ecosystems, food processing, and natural resources conservation, which may not at a glance be categorized as agricultural financial needs. I took up research in these 'business' areas and I have been working with women who need to start businesses to process food (fermentation), and nutraceuticals.  

Most financial requirements are actually not to be borne by the women but by the system. A woman who needs to fabricate a piece of equipment should not be the one to travel to buy stainless steel plates, nails, etc and design the equipment, supervise its fabrication and trial run it at her own cost. This money is used to manage a failed system.

We need to have an agro-business development finance where women are networked with R&D agencies and University where MSC students are charged to research and develop technologies codify information and package it for easy use for specific applications.

The trigger for such projects should be the women themselves not the student, R&D institution or university. For one product we could take on students; an agriculture student, a scientist to develop a products like lactic acid from cassava for example, an engineer to fabricate the machine required, a marketing or social scientist to look at the aspects of marketing, and ecologist to look at the issues etc.

The unifying objective should be to ensure that particular business is established and functional. Finances should be available to hold technology clinics where the women (innovator) can get information when she needs at the same place and timely. A technology/business incubation centre would be ideal for this purpose. The question would be how will they pay back? 

Similar to the way they payback in cycles, they can be required to pay over a period of time a certain amount of money, and to ensure sustainability they can pay back a fee for a longer time. 

Deborah Wendiro
Chairperson -UGAWARD

Germain DOSSOU's picture

Parlons de l'inclusion financière au Bénin

Environ 17% de la population adulte béninoise et environ 14% des femmes ont un compte bancaire. L'accès aux services et aux produits financiers a augmenté avec la prolifération des fournisseurs de services financiers (FSP). À l'heure actuelle, la politique d'inclusion financière vise à promouvoir l'accès à la micro finance pour tous.

En 2006, la Banque centrale du Bénin, la BCEAO a introduit des directives pour déréglementer le système financier permettant aux établissements non-bancaires d'émettre de l'argent électronique et de fournir un service d'argent mobile. En mai 2015, cette règlementation a été révisée pour répondre aux besoins croissants du secteur financier. En tant que membre de l'Alliance pour l’Inclusion Financière (AFI), le Bénin a signé des conventions et des déclarations, l'engageant à adopter les meilleures pratiques et à mettre en place des règlements et des politiques favorables aux pauvres afin de leur faciliter l'accès aux services et aux produits financiers.

La loi du 8 août 1997 et le décret no. N ° 98-60 du 9 février 1999 réglementent la création et l'exploitation de coopératives d'épargne et de crédit, de mutualistes et d'associations, mais ne prévoyaient pas la délivrance de monnaie électronique. La croissance rapide du marché de la micro finance a entraîné une explosion d'IMF non assermentées, générant des incidents du type de la pyramide de Ponzi. Les épargnants ont donc perdus leurs économies. Le gouvernement a adopté une loi nationale en 2012, établissant un code de conduite pour les IMF, ce qui a posé un problème en termes de respect.

“.L’Alliance pour l’Inclusion Financière (AFI) habilite les décideurs politiques à accroitre l’accès des populations les plus pauvres à des services financiers de qualité” http://www.afi-global.org/about-us

Une pyramide de Ponzi est une escroquerie financière faisant miroiter aux investisseurs des taux de rendement élevés pour un faible risque. La pyramide de Ponzi génère des revenus pour les plus anciens investisseurs grâce aux apports de capitaux des nouveaux. Cette escroquerie produit réellement les rendements promis aux anciens investisseurs, et ce, aussi longtemps qu’il y a de nouveaux investisseurs. Ces manœuvres s’effondrent souvent d’elles-mêmes lorsqu’il n’y a plus de nouveaux apports.

Le Bénin compte douze banques en fonctionnement. L’État est le prêteur dominant dans le secteur bancaire avec environ 45% des prêts du système bancaire (2014-2015). Cependant, le secteur bancaire est en grande partie hors de portée de nombreux adultes défavorisés. Certaines banques deviennent de plus en plus actives dans la fourniture de services d'argent mobile, afin d’atteindre les communautés non bancarisées, et ce grâce à des partenariats avec des Opérateurs de Réseaux Mobiles (ORM) et à la création de compte d’épargne sans solde minimum et sans frais. Orabank Benin, Bank of Africa Benin (BOA), Ecobank Benin, Banque Internationale du Bénin (BIBE), UBA Benin, Diamond Bank, Société Générale Bénin, Banque Sahélo-Saharienne pour l’Investissement et le Commerce (BSIC), Banque de l’Habitat du Benin (BHB), Banque Atlantique Benin (BABN), BGFI Bank Benin.  CBAO Groupe Attijariwafa Bank, CCEI Bank Benin, et la Banque Africaine pour l’Industrie et le Commerce (BAIC) sont trois nouvelles banques récement entrées dans le secteur.

Fonds Monétaire International (FMI) https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2016/cr1607.pdf

Compte tenu de la domination du secteur bancaire par le gouvernement et les grandes entreprises, le reste de la population s'appuie sur les IMF tandis que les moins privilégiés, en particulier les femmes à faible revenu, se tournent vers les structures informelles. Le nombre d'IMF a augmenté de façon exponentielle avec plus de 700 opérateurs  en 2014, dont seulement 200 ont été officiellement assermentées. Dans le secteur de la micro finance, il existe dix grandes IMF dont ASMAB, FECECAM, Padme, Finadev et Vital Finance en sont les acteurs majeurs. Le Consortium ALAFIA joue également un rôle actif dans la promotion de l'inclusion financière des femmes en menant des enquêtes et des recherches afin de collecter des données sur les défis et les obstacles auxquels les femmes sont confrontées dans le secteur de la micro finance.

Au Bénin, le taux de pénétration des téléphones portables est de 78%, ce qui permet aux ORM et aux banques de fournir de l'argent mobile à la population non bancarisée. MTN et Moov sont les deux seules compagnies de téléphonie mobile fournissant des services financiers numériques dans le pays. Cependant, ces deux ORM n'ont pas obtenu de licence pour émettre officiellement de la monnaie électronique. Ils doivent collaborer avec les banques pour fournir ce type de service. Ainsi, MTN et Moov n'agissent qu’en qualité d’intermédiaires entre les banques et les clients pour rendre les services financiers numériques accessibles à la population.

Germain M. DOSSOU
Expert en genre et développement
Coordonnateur ANaF-BENIN
Tél: 00229 97025285
Email: domeger2002@yahoo.fr



What are the main challenges to gender equality in agriculture finance?

  • Lack of access to agricultural finance, affordable financing options are not available to women farmers. Ownership of assets has  bearing one’s ability to access credit. Assets, including land are used as a form of collateral required for one to be granted a loan by banks.  Only few women farmers’ have accessed credit. If women have access, control and ownership to land, can help them in accessing loans from banks. Women are regarded as high risk, lacking the collateral and business experience required to manage resources in a manner that provides dividends to financial institutions 
  • Lack of access to farming inputs. Some of the farming inputs are too expensive for some families. Hence the government should supply some of the inputs to these women since they are playing an important role in agriculture. Subsistence farming as then practiced by women, in order to produce sufficient food, required intensive factors of production such as extra labor, fertilizers and farming implements which are not easily available to women because of the low position they occupy in society for procuring or determining inputs.
  • Lack of access to farm labor. These women are poor and they do not have money to hire farm laborers.Most of these women ended up working in these farms with their children in order to cut labor cost. Most women do not have access to education due to financial constrains.

How can the Bank address these challenges, as it works to bolster food security on the continent?
Banks should provide loan facilities that are favorable to women and the interest rates should be reasonable, bearing in mind that they are working with women who do are financial unstable.

What experiences and lessons could be used to buttress the effectiveness of the Bank’s interventions in this area
Government should monitor all financial institutions that they have a special desk for women and have finances that are for women projects with low interest rates.




But what is gender equality? Is there something called equality in any scenario? One day we were discussing with my sister the issue of capitalism. She said that all of us are potentially capitalists and gave this story. There was a group of street people who received food aid. The donor gave it to the one who seemed most influential and fatherly. immediately the donor left the person set the rules. Give me a commission before I give you some food! The rest of the street people complied without question! Was that equality or something else? Should the donor come and interfere in this social order? Did all of them have access to the donation? Was it proportionate? What should the donor do to ensure that everybody gets the right access - equality?

I wish to ask a few salient questions. Why are the people on the street in the first place? Would they need donation if they are not in this situation? Who ensures equality in the jungle? But what are the rules of the jungle that enable everybody to have equality? I am watching a movie now and that movie is of the jungle where all sorts of animals are looking for food. Do you visualize what happens? The strong ones eat the weak. So the most critical challenge is making jungle laws and policies and expecting them  to establish equality. The main challenge is using jungle plumb line to measure equality or equal access.

The challenge is in the creation of the word gender! A social construct that is beyond comprehension at any point in time! Why has society made women become so vulnerable like the small animals that are eaten by the tigers? So should we use the jungle law and say let the strong devour the weak since it is the law of the jungle? Do you know that even within the women's groups the stronger women wear the pants? Why is it so? So what law should we apply to ensure equality?

I think we should create alternative financing approaches. Nature does that. When the tigers over consume the small  animals they reach a time when they food is so scarce the tigers die off - they call it natural selection or something like that. The main challenge is using the same plumb line.

Lets get another one aimed at women. This plumb line enable women to move money from one business to another. It should enable them to be themselves - women who have multiple roles. I hear you say is she mad? No am not!

I know women have succeeded through such processes. They grow crops and sell some of them when they need money, process some of them to keep for later time, process some of them and sell to generate money to buy other requirements - clothes, health services, transport, friends, mother's love, bread and sugar, school fees, meat and duck, etc. Is there organic financing that responds to such needs? In a subsistence economy, I quote;

"...Cassava is mainly grown by women in small fields as a mix of plants of up to 15 cultivars that are largely maintained by vegetative propagation of stem cuttings. Since everyone in the area is essentially a cassava farmers and since there are hardly any market opportunities, the harvesting of cassava for household consumption is done on a piecemeal basis throughout the year. Most of the planting is done in direct relation to the piecemeal harvesting. This results in fields with a mix of plants of different cultivars and different ages..." Mkumbira et al, Euphytica 132: 7-23, 2003

Do they do this due to lack of knowledge, lack of choice, or prudent management of their resources? Humans (read women) create agro-ecosystems to enhance indirect benefits. Even food security is a multifaceted problem. In the development situation obtaining we need to manage nature as we promote development.

How would I manage gender equality in agriculture finance for these women?
It is a social ecology problem of policy development and development financing. The answer is rooted in that excerpt from  Mkumba et al, 2003. They need knowledge, they need choices, they need to belong to society, they need self actualization. If have seen women who started off spread but are now focused. Why? because they now have knowledge, and choices, and enabled tomanage their resources.

Deborah Wendiro
Chairperson - UGAWARD  



Ha ha ha! The leprosy of information dearth has caught every body!

I don't know who is AfDB, DFIs. I know some of the stakeholders. So how can I know what they do? I know the culprit was mentioned by someone from Nigeria who said something about policy and Yinka Adesola also lamented men in critical positions.

To some extent I agree with her but not fully. A woman can be male in action so we need to address policy making processes and how people are recruited into positions. A gender sensitive man can as well do the job. A well articulated and managed project can prevent insensitive people from doing their own thing. So we need to design projects with 'gender lens' as they say; but am saying we need to design them programatically, organically, sensitive to needs of everybody because whether you use the women's lens or not they still remain in the society! Right!

Society places people in its own straight jacket! Okay! Society has its own guidelines that are not made in board rooms. Okay! Do you not know some of the African (Lusoga Dialect in Uganda) sayings like Okulinaana Enyandha tikuliira? meaning being near the sea does not place you at advantage to always eat fish! So what prevents somebody at the source from accessing the critical resources is written in the social ecology of resource utilization.

What prevents me from knowing what is AfDB, DFIs is written in the same manuscript!

I have been angered by the fact that much literature insult subsistence processes, including agriculture, processing, as being backward. Why is it that it has persisted, I wonder? Why do humanity in times of calamity resort to such, have we ever wondered? Is there in nature something called uniformity? I know diversity, I know continuous change. So is there diversity and continuous change in subsistence agriculture, small scale processing, subsistence etc? Yes there is and plenty of it.

Is there innovation in the most 'primitive culture'? The answer is YES! SO why do we not design policies to keep it "small" and "progressive"? Are we surprised that the "beneficiaries of AfDB, and DFIs" do not talk about it? It does not maybe belong to their social ecological framework! They receive it but do not cerebrate it, right! Ha ha ha!

May be there is no effort to encourage reporting because we do not know how the beneficiaries showcase gratitude. In my culture we take to the floor and dance singing praises to the person/institution and that is it!

Deborah Wendiro
Chairperson - UGAWARD



Female farmers have serious financial challenges on agricultural business than men. Women need money to purchase inputs like improved seeds ,fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides and for transportation for easy movement since, she needs to hurry from farm to home to perform house tasks .

I visited some female farms today  and discovered that their maize needs fertilizer and weeding but they have no money to do that.


Madalitso Chidumu's picture

Most challenges that women face in regards to agricultural financing and their causes have been discussed alot but just to share that, stakeholders and private sector have come up with a way to still invove women in agri financing and one of that ways is through Group financing. Women are told to be in groups and through the groups are able to access agricultural finance. 

This approach has seen the percentage of women accessing finance increasing from the base line. Its something that can and should be promoted because the its a fact that most women dont own land and major assests and at the same time, the private sector is in business, they also assess their risk.

So promoting the groups approach is one of the actions to be taken

Madalitso Chidumu (2014 AWARD fellow)
Farmer & Founder of Impact AIIC



Le manque de possibilité de financement des projets des femmes agricultrices en Afrique est un  problème qu'il faut solutionner si l'on veut amorcer un véritable développement du secteur agricole et arriver à couvrir les besoins alimentaires en Afrique et pourquoi pas commercialiser à l'instar des autres continents le surplus. 

Le faite que les femmes ne soient pas beaucoup plus impliqué et prise en compte comme pouvant être de véritables atouts dans le domaine agricole et son développement  réside dans nos coutumes et croyances ancestrales. En effet, c'est un problème de mentalité, car la femme dans nos régions à toujours été vu comme étant l'accompagnatrice, celle qui n'a pas droit aux terres, celles qui est là pour épauler le mari rien d'autres et j'en passe. Hors toutes les sociétés sont  en pleine mutation, nous, Africains ne devons pas lutter et rester en marge du changement mais plutôt y adhérer et reconnaître ainsi que la femme peut être plus qu'un soutien et une simple accompagnatrice de l'homme, mais plutôt une leader, ayant des idées et des projets pertinent pour le développement en Afrique. Nous devons pour se faire: 

  • Sensibiliser la population Africaine, sur le bien fondé de l'implication et la prise en compte de la gente féminine dans les projets de développement à savoir l'agriculture et bien d'autres.
  • Prôner l'abandon des croyances et coutumes rétrogrades, à ne pas confondre avec remettre en cause ou abandonner notre africanisme.
  • Faire comprendre aux femmes qu'elles peuvent et doivent être des acteurs du développement agricoles en Afrique.
  • Faciliter l'accès aux terres et aux ressources financières pour celles qui peuvent et veulent entreprendre dans le domaine agricole.
  • Initier des formations pour la gente féminine dans le domaines agricoles.

Hervé Palm Chargé de communication à la Fondation Rama

Demba N's picture



With existing inclusive community financial institutions across Sub-Saharan Africa, AfDB could tweak basic operating procedures to make it more gender relevant and help build towards a marked community development financial institution...Below Youtube Link featuring some women (westernmost) background model following the history of a few variants...


Under this inclusive model, mission-related investment strategies are proven foundations and anchor, AfDB and partners might use to generate financial returns while promoting mission-related goals.



Women and agricultural finance! Quite a package to unpack in terms of the nature of financial institutions, the  nature of agriculture as a whole and women's roles in agriculture. Alot has been said and I will add my voice;

Women face gross challenges in accessing agricultural finance. Finance as a whole is designed with risk managing facets such as the need for collateral. Largely, one common form of collateral is land, which women have selective access to. In terms of asset ownership, we have fewer women represented amongst those that own land. Moreover, women's land ownership is usually within the context of their relationship to a primary male-whether father or husband. The death of this primary male is oftentimes likely to leave the woman landless. Save for a few cases and the rising awareness that is calling for titling of land to include wives and daughters, many a rural community have their land titled in the names of the males within the community. Financial institutions are therefore unable to accept land as collateral from the women. In any case, women have to seek permission from the men in order to access the land to be used as collateral.

Another observation about women and acces to fiunance is that women do not simply face cross-gender limitations when it comes to attaining collateral for loans. They are faced with the cross-generational structure of the farming communities. Infact, while the woman might be enjoying a form of gender parity in terms of decision making concerning access to credit with the primary male in her home, there is also the issue of the senior members of the family such as the mother-in-law, father-in-law, elder sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law! Land under customery ownership will not be given up as collateral without express permission from all these (or even the whole extended family).

What is the loan worth, if it is likely to stir up a land despute within the extended family at the time the woman seeks to access the loan? Simple wisdom would be for her to steer clear of such financial packages. Secondly, the financial need of the woman could be to the tune of a few hundred dollars while the customery land (which families usually prefer not to divide up) is worth thousands of dollars. Using the land as collateral becomes an unattractive venture given that a failure to repay would result in a huge loss, not commensurate with the expected gain from the loans. Unless financial services are able to redesign their financial services to suit such forms of collateral, their services seem like entrappments for the farming communities and will not be able to meet the needs of such. Additionally, re-visiting the land tenure systems to re-allign them with current development needs.

Lastly, financial service provision within the developing world is known to be a risky business and as such interest charged on loans is very high while interest paid on deposits remains unattractively low. For women in the agricultural sector to borrow, they expose themselves to higher production costs as a result of the interest charged on this loan and generally the outcome is lower gains from agricultural production. This defies the real need for loans if their negative impact filters through to farmers greater than the intended benefits.





Thanks so much to all the contributors for their diverse inputs into a truly rich conversation, all additional insights.  On the ground experience coming from implementation tells mountains of the challenge.

How do we get more political will? Sincere political will can lead the way for women to get access to finance but how do we get it.

Does it start with women leaders? How can it become mainstream for financial institutions to target women clients?  Is this an awareness campaign of Central Banks? Does it survive a change in political regimes and administrations?

Financial institutions need to be motivated to increase their business line to women. There is a need for imperative. This comes from the political will mentioned above but then also a change in business model, having prototype models for women for easier appraisal, dedicated staff, and outreach mechanisms, there has to be an outreach role for digital financial services for women.

The risk taking appetite of financial institutions remains low and given the lack of land titles for women, collateral is an issue. Collateral substitutes are required, credit history and registries will all help. Insurance remains an area that we have not explored enough and if anyone has any good ideas on how insurance could be extended, I would be really grateful.

Somebody had already made the contribution to focus on the specific need of women clients. Very true. Many a time, women needs start with financial literacy, saving. More than men, women are afraid to default. Instead of taking loans from banks, they want to start with easy access financial cooperatives, savings and groups.
We need to build on that need and create a momentum.

Keep the insights coming!


Dear Atsuko,

Referring to your last question, I recently heard about an interesting study conducted by the World Bank's Gender Innovation Lab. The team introduced "psychometrics testing" to assess the ability and willingness of women to replay loans. The assessments include business skills, intelligence, ethics & honesty, and attitudes of female lenders. This may sound a bit like social investing. However, this is meant to replace collateral or credit history required by FIs. What they lack is that the study does not necessarily focus on the agriculture sector.

This reminded me of the successful factor of Grameen Bank which partially counted on social capital as collateral substitutes. The bank agents also visited loan groups often to follow up their business plans, that was particularly essential. This helps the bank to understand the situation where women face family pressures to spend the money for other purposes than original businesses.

Lastly, I would also be very much interested in knowing where there is a will to increase FI's business lines to women.

Best regards,




The main challenges to gender equality in agriculture finance.

  1. Women lack collateral for security such as lack land compared to men who own land. Unlike men women do not inherit land and have little purchasing power or resource to improve on their livelihood.
  2. Agriculture production requires capital which women lack to produce quality products. And their production focus on family needs.
  3. Mostly women earn wages they do unskilled labor in the farms. The reproductive work which takes a lot of man hours is not measured or paid yet its important in the community. In GDP the house hold income is not included when computing National income it shows women do not work. In leadership/managerial positions in finance dockets and also decision making on finance are mainly led by men in Kenya. Ministry of finance in Kenya has never been lead by women.
  4. Water projects need large investment on irrigation and water supply this limit production as women rely on rainfall and production is hindered by dry weather experienced due to climate change.
  5. Due to limitation of finance agricultural production is not mechanized and production levels are low resulting low income.
  6. At household level women maybe harassed by men after taking a loan and the man may disappear with the money leaving the woman to repay with no investment.

Involvement of African Development Bank and other stakeholders' engagement in addressing the gender gap in agriculture finance.
The Development Finance Institutions play great role in support of women mainly in capacity building for agricultural development in a country. They also support their members with advisory services in order to grow their business.

Kenya government offer support women with Women Enterprise Fund (WEF). Through the government they give loans and grants to members for starting and operating business especially in agriculture. Youth Fund also offers loans to young farmers and entrepreneurs. They support women where the loan repayment rates are friendly to their business or favour low income earners. Provide new technologies, farm inputs and capital support to women in agriculture production.
This has promoted gender equality and has empowered women improving on their agriculture production and income reducing poverty.

How the Bank addresses the challenges of women in Agriculture Finance
The Development Finance Bank and other finance institution should ensure funds are available to women and youth for investment. These Institutions should work in support of women in the country so as to uplift the standards of living.

For women entrepreneurs to improve in agriculture there is need to develop financial packages that are factor women in development agriculture for high value crops and livestock production. The Development Finance institution and government need to develop a variety of guarantee schemes that would address the risks that may arise with such packages along different agriculture value chains.

The goal of this bank should remain focused on eradication of poverty and empower families through women in development. This in turn will reduce rural-urban migration in search of employment among women and youth in the country.

Experiences and lessons that could be used to address buttress the effectiveness of banks intervention in agriculture finance.
The African Development Bank may upscale agriculture production for women by providing of Grants/loans, machinery, tools and equipments for value addition to support women. This support should go in line with high value crops depending on enterprise choice.

Kenya Women Finance Trust is rated among the largest in supporting women in Africa offering loans whereby women and youth are able obtain funds for their business with affordable interest rates for agriculture development.

The sector may also provide private-public partnerships to improve agriculture value chains for quality products as per agro-ecological zones.

Application of 1/3 rule involvement of women in decision making in agriculture development activities by government and all stakeholders

Improving the marketing system and infrastructure ensuring quality products are available to consumers and better returns. Empowering women on finance so as to upscale agriculture production for improved productivity and product for better market prices and income reducing poverty for the community




There are inequitable or discriminatory laws and customs that prevent women from acquiring land.

Most land tenure system is still communal. This system suppresses women considering them not worthy of acquiring or inheriting land.
omen therefore either have no or minimal part in the decision-making process within the household or control the allotment of agricultural incomes and to a large extent regarding agricultural development.
Land tenure security can serve as collateral and help women have better access to agriculture finance and purchase modern inputs.

Furthermore structural disadvantages due to unequal access to extension and advisory services, and agricultural financial instruments will continue to widen this gender gap.




Abayomi Olatunji's picture



As we all know in Africa, women in our society have been deprived of most of their rights, however, it is obvious that some of these problems emanated from their inability to stand for their rights or their ignorance of such rights which create disparity among the genders.

Financial institutions should find a way of reaching out to the rural communities women associations, educate the women, most importantly in their local languages on opportunities in accessing financial facilities.



Demba N's picture



Across the emerging world, while the term “community development financial institutions” or “CDFI” is relatively new, the concept in itself is part of a much richer history of community economic development, resilience, gender friendly and self-help credit mechanisms. With extensive research on adaptability and adjustments, AfDB can truly draw from such inclusive and community driven models and, in line with prevailing illiteracy rates in Africa, through better ITC integration, lead the change ahead into the broader development agenda.

Below figure showcasing Old vs New personal finance management, with a focus on compound aggregates of individual worth towards greater collective pursuits, with scale economy potential in acquisitions, mobilizations and market facilities...Under a collective management scheme with help of a local business advisory service mechanism for oversight and vault functions.

Brought in by earlier immigrant guilds of New York City’s Lower East Side and the Prairie Populists of the late 1800s, overlapping to African-American communities forming the first community development credit unions in the 1930s in response to exclusive financial systems at times of racial and ethnic bias, communities in America have sought out self-help credit solutions because traditional financial institutions have ignored or abandoned them...Regardless of the context (USA vs Africa), background in that regards seems pretty much likely in African contexts of financial disintegration. My latest experience in community resilience through insurance and financial services in the US exposed me to various knowledge gap, and perception bias that status quo hasn’t done much to improve, if not besides emphatic rhetoric embedded in current economic inclusion self-imposed paradigms.

With the above picture in mind, current community development financial institutions (CDFI) industry in the US, began taking shape in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Some of the first organizations dedicated to community development were created out of governmental efforts to address poverty alleviation and racial discrimination. Under its “War on Poverty” campaign and through the Office of Economic Opportunity the Johnson Administration, launched community development corporations (CDCs) to work in both urban and rural poor communities. In the successes of many of these early CDCs lay the foundation for today’s CDFI industry as well in the US as aborad, replicating the very premise of practical financial inclusion model, community-based and data driven.

At this very inception, AfDB might save time and resources in further documenting its approach to the full spectrum of gender and financial inclusion, overhauling its rationale with a similar scenario. CDFIs specifically focus on serving the needs of the poor and working class within urban and poor rural communities, as many of these citizens are underserved or unfit by traditional commercial banks and lending standards, their respective values become a scale economy worth considering. The goal here is to help those feeding their communities and taking care of business, become financially self-sufficient, allowing them to increase their contributions to national economic growth and to rebuild run-down communities.

Tasks such CFDIs can look into are various, each with the goal of fostering economic growth within local communities through innovative and way less stringent lending practices, educational efforts tailored to local markets demands…

With help of local business advisory services as the consultative hub in data collection, metrics in poverty mapping and background financial analysis, CDFIs would gain in notoriety being controlled locally, without interference from the central government, national or local hierarchy.

Chaka Ng'ambi's picture



The solution for gender solution to finance women is for the AfDB to finance directly agribusinesses with innovative and passionate leadership in the agribusiness.

Funding through some intermediaries is a challenge as most of the women are illiterate in the rural communities and could not write a bankable proposal for funding. They may have very brilliant agribusiness ideas but because of lack of information of where to get cheap source of finance.

For this reason: 

  • We are providing guaranteed market for cereal and legume crops at the local rural thereby creating capacity to these women in the rural.
  • From our observation most women in the rural are hard working and do a lot of work and because of that we want these women to have access to long term loans in terms of solar water pumps for irrigation unlike using tedious way to do the irrigation.
  • We are looking for finance to purchase tractor and implement so that these women could be assisted by preparing fields for them quickly unlike the tedious way of using hoes since they are the producers of the cereal and legume crops which we are to purchase from them at the local rural.
  • This requires passionate leadership by the bank by funding directly where they could identify such leadership. Leaders who want to prosper together with smallholder farmers in the rural area.

From our experience we have noted that most of the funds through government systems do not reach the intended people. I have indicated this because of the experience of the funds from IFAD which part of it did not reach us through Ministry of Agriculture which might have been misappropriated by employees in the government Agencies. 

AfDB should have an organ which should be giving grants directly to agribusinesses and only make government systems as supervisors and not processors of the remittance of the funds to the agribusinesses..

This is my little contribution regarding funding women in the rural.
I look forward to hearing your comments.

Mr. Chaka Ng'ambi
Managing Director
Muchinga General Enterprises Ltd
Thendele,Mafinga District,Muchinga Province Zambia
Cell: +26095 5439535/+260977206667
E-mail: muchingagel@gmail.com
Skipe: +260977206667
Reg. No.98561

Demba N's picture

In regards to your point, illiteracy may be seen as an impediment for the AfDB to unveil a sustainable gender equality in agriculture finance, even though the premise might hold in some short term perspectives, I do believe that illiteracy is central to the question of access to finance overall. Therefore instead of circumventing the issue, kicking the can down the road, I think financial literacy should be as well embedded in any financial inclusion model, sought of to better ensure sustainability of the solution in itself.

It’s worth noting that for the last decades most donors have been in emergency situations managing dire situations whereby lump money is needed without the pre-requisites of proper outreach and communication in time and quality, henceforth, the funding becomes cyclical, with shallow outcome and lesser impacts than project document objectives made it look attractive to start with.

At this juncture AfDB has to look at its overall involvement as key to what’s yet to come for the next decades and realize that they have the best of all inputs to date, out of which to draw the best bet practice in the matter of gender equality in agriculture finance and lead the change forward!



Le type de financement à moyen et long terme serait idéal.

Cela permettrait aux femmes de ne pas êtres étouffées par le remboursement

et au même moment développer ou innover l'activité.

Trop de pression autour d'un prêt, tue le prêt. Peut importe la source du financement pourvu qu'elle ne donne pas trop de pression.

Des financements de 3 à 5 ans seraient l'idéal dans ce domaine. 

C'est ensemble que nous pouvons relever les défis



What are the main challenges to gender equality in agriculture finance?

The main challenges faced in agriculture finance are; High interest rates, loan recovery done before agriculture businesses establish, some financial service providers consider agriculture as a high risk investment hence loans not offered to the farmers, delayed processing of loans, stringent requirements including collaterals to acquire loans. Finding guarantors is a challenge to qualify for loans.

What has been done – by the AfDB, DFIs and stakeholders - to address the gender gap in agriculture finance? Which financing mechanisms could be successfully used to tackle gender equality in agriculture finance?

Setting aside funds specifically for youth and women such as the  youth or women enterprise. The funds are accessed by women and youth organized in groups.

How can the Bank address these challenges, as it works to bolster food security on the continent?

The bank can fund social entrepreneurs interested in supporting the gender groups in production or accessing markets. This is because social entrepreneurs are more interested in addressing challenges and changing lives of beneficiaries than organizational profit.  Such organizations offer flexible terms of loan repayment, are open minded and willing to listen when beneficiaries request for more time to service loans. This way the beneficiareies are able to engage in trade and eventually succeed in business.

What experiences and lessons could be used to buttress the effectiveness of the Bank’s interventions in this area?

As aforementioned, I have in mind the concept of “patient capital” common with social entrepreneurship. The social entrepreneurs develop innovative financial models with little expectations on quick return on capital but an  ultimate aim of funding  businesses  to succeed. An example is juhudi kilimo that offered in-calf heifer to small scale farmers, recovering the cost only once the farmers trade their milk. The other benefit to the farmers was that juhudi sourced the dairy cows for them and eliminated the risk of farmers buying  low yielding cows. Juhudi was funded by Acumen fund a global non-profit investment venture. Another is CARITAS bank under the catholic church that donated heifers to the farmers who were expected to donate and hand over heifer produced to the next group member. The bank may approach  such trusted partners to deliver financial products likely to suit the gender groups of concern. Also important is to sensitize the gender groups  on the innovative financial model otherwise they may shy away from loans from the organizations  due past encounter with traditional  banking institutions.

Beatrice Tuei

Award fellow, 2009


Madalitso Chidumu's picture



In designing programs that can help the bank to address some of the challenges women face in finnacing its important for the bank to consider some of the effects that can come with direct financing women in agribusiness. It was dicussed in earier phases that at times, the money that women handles are not necesarrily used by them, men are seen to overcome the women, and involve themselves in planning and usage of the women money. so to some extent direct financing has its own disadvantage because we are not even sure if indeed the money will be used for its intended use. one strategy that other stekeholders have used is to  finance women in agribusiness in kind. for example, construction of processing facilities, procurement of machinery this helps to ensure that men dont take advantage if the financing mechanism comes in hard cash.

another aspect to consider is male involvement in financing. most projects that aim at building a gender gap havent been succesiful because men have been sidelined. Men should also be put at the center. A project should strat with problem tree identification which should be done at community level where even men participate and they acknowledge theres a problem which can be filled through financing and that they are willing to help their female partners to be empowered to produce for the market etc

Madalitso Chidumu (2014 AWARD fellow)
Farmer & Founder of Impact AIIC



Quels sont les principaux défis pour l'égalité des sexes dans le domaine du financement agricole ?
Le crédit fait appel à une confiance entre individus, entre groupe d’individus, entre une ou plusieurs structures, localités régions ou nations. Mais il se fait que cette confiance devra être matérialisée soit par de l’argent ou soit par un objet dont la valeur monétaire est consentante entre les deux parties (le bénéficiaire/demandeur du crédit et celui qui s’engage à donner le crédit). Dans la plupart des cas, se sont les banques ou institution de qui offrent les possibilités de crédits sans discrimination aucune. Mais il y a des conditions pour accéder à ces crédits aussi bien dans les autres domaines que dans le domaine agricole.

Le constat est que peu de femmes arrivent à remplir les conditions d’accès aux crédits dignes du nom a cause des conditions qui sont imposées par les banques ou institutions de microfinance. Parmi ces conditions la garantie d’une terre ou d’une maison est la plus commune. Combien sont-elles à pouvoir respecter cette condition pour obtenir un crédit d’un montant substantiel lui permettant de mettre en place une véritable exploitation agricole ? Même s’il en existe, ce serait bien négligeable. Il est tout de même important de noter que depuis quelques années l’Etat béninois s’est engagé à créer des conditions de financement des activités assez favorables aux femmes à travers la mise en place du programme de microcrédits de la Caisse Locale de Crédit Agricole Mutuel (CLCAM) ou de la Caisse Villageoise d’Epargne et de Crédit Autogérés (CAVECA). Mais il est temps de s’engager dans une politique plus osée avec la mise en place d’un fonds de garantie au niveau des banques pour les femmes afin de leur faciliter l’accès aux crédits agricoles car au Bénin, à la date d’aujourd’hui, il n’existe pas une politique cohérente et formelle sur le financement rural (SNV, 2011).
A ce niveau, l’appui des partenaires techniques et financiers serait un atout.

Les défis à relever :

  • Mener des actions de lobbying auprès des pouvoirs publics pour la mise en place d’un fond de garantie publique spécialement pour les femmes qui sont dans le domaine agricole ;
  • Réfléchir et proposer aux institutions de microfinance des produits spéciaux pour les femmes
  • Aider les femmes a s’entourer de toutes les garanties en matière d’accès à la terre (contrat de bail en bonne et du forme, donation ou autorisation d’occupation s’il s’agit d’une terre relevant du domaine public, etc..) pour donner plus de confiance au donneur de crédit et qu’il soit rassurer que la terre ne sera pas arrachée par le propriétaire avant le terme du crédit.
  • Sécuriser le secteur agricole pour en faciliter son financement en prenant des mesures relatives aux débouchés, aux prix, au taux d’intérêt, au foncier et aux aléas climatiques ;
  • Inciter les IMF et les banques à financer l’agriculture par la mise en place par l’Etat de fonds de garantie, de fonds d’assurance de récolte, les fonds de calamité et l’opérationnalisation du FNDA (PSRSA)

Source : Tchaou, D. (2013). Participation des femmes aux activités agricoles : accès au foncier, au crédit agricole et au formation. Quel défit à relever?
SNV, (2011). “Décortiquer le maïs pour créer des liens de valeur”. Recherche-action sur leviers pour rendre les chaines de valeur ajoutée maïs plus compétitives, durables et inclusives

Qu'est-ce qui a été fait - par la BAD, les IFD et parties prenantes - pour remédier à l'écart entre les sexes dans le financement de l'agriculture ?
Le projet d’Appui au Développement des Communes et aux Initiatives locales (ADECOI) dans son rôle d’appui-conseil aux communes du Borgou et conformément à l’un de ses objectifs qui est de contribuer à la lutte contre l’insécurité alimentaire, a donc pris l’initiative de promouvoir le warrantage dans les sept communes bénéficiaires de son action en particulier et dans le département du Borgou en général. Le projet a été financé par le Programme des Nations-Unies pour le Développement (PNUD). Le warrantage en effet garantit une meilleure répartition des ventes au cours de la saison en même temps qu’il améliore la disponibilité du crédit rural. Il est, de ce fait, considéré comme un instrument essentiel de lutte contre l’insécurité alimentaire et la pauvreté. Le warrantage est le fait de garantir un crédit par un produit agricole. Il est ainsi mis en œuvre au Nord-Bénin par l’ONG SIA N’SON, en partenariat avec plusieurs groupements de producteurs. A Zogbodomé il est mis en œuvre par le FUPRO avec le soutien financier de l’IFDC et de l’AFD.
Source : Tassou, M. and Gandonou, E. (2012). Etude d’un mécanisme de warrantage au nord du Bénin. Paper presented at the 3rd workshop of Sciences, Cultures and Technologies at University of Abomey - Calavi

Le projet d’Appui au Développement Rural (PADER) financé par le Fond Internationale de Développement Agricole (FIDA) à travers sa composante ‘’Accès au Financement rural’’ a permis (i) de consolider 144 Association des Services Financiers (ASF), mises en place par le Projet Microfinance et Commercialisation (PROMIC); (ii) de créer 60 ASF dans les nouveaux villages; (iii) de mettre en place la structure faîtière, l’Union des ASF (UNASF) avec sa caisse centrale, qui gérera les liquidités et  assurera le refinancement des ASF. Les ASF comptent 95 279 actionnaires, dont près de 41% sont des femmes. Depuis 1998, près de 87% des actionnaires ont reçu au moins un crédit.
Source: République du Benin, (2011). Programme d’Appui au Développement Rural, rapport provisoire.

Le programme de Miguéze financé par le Fonds pour l’égalité des sexes d’ONU Femmes en Afrique à travers les groupements d’Epargne et de Crédit. Ce programme utilise aujourd’hui cette méthodologie qui conduit à des résultats dans les domaines de l’amélioration de la nutrition, du développement des entreprises et de la gestion durable des terres. Le programme de Miguéze, par exemple, a aidé 2 780 personnes et les femmes s’érigent aujourd’hui en leaders et en modèles à suivre.  Les règles du groupement d’épargne et de crédit sont simples : un petit nombre de femmes, entre 10 et 35, se réunissent et forment un groupe. Elles élisent une présidente, une secrétaire et une trésorière, et chaque semaine elles mettent leurs économies dans un pot commun. Après quelques semaines ou quelques mois, n’importe quel membre peut solliciter un prêt et doit le rembourser dans les trois mois, en payant un taux d’intérêt allant de 5 à 10 %. Le prêt leur sert à investir dans leur petit commerce ou petite entreprise, par exemple pour acheter des semences, du bétail et des outils pour accroître la productivité.
Source : http://www.unwomen.org/fr/news/stories/2017/6/feature-in-benin-small-savings-and-loans-groups-drive-rural-womens-empowerment

Quels mécanismes de financement pourraient être utilisés avec succès pour lutter contre l'inégalité entre les sexes dans le financement de l'agriculture ?
La BAD pourrait mettre en place un mécanisme de financement des femmes qui serait plus flexible (taux d’intérêt, délai de remboursement, exigence de garanties moins contraignante) comme le mécanisme de warrantage. Ce mécanisme pourrait être amélioré à travers le renforcement de capacité des femmes sur les outils de gestions des Activités Génératrices de Revenues (AGR) initiées avec les crédits.


Gaba ep.Bakari
Formatrice au sein de la FEFA. Fédération des femmes Entrepreneurs et Femmes d'affaires du BENIN

Paul Kibogo's picture



Various financial models have been applied targeting women in different business sectors with huge success in Kenya like KWFT programs. However little effort has been made to address gender in Agriculture since most traditional financing focus on assets like land etc. Agriculture endowment fund and guarantees system supported by technical support to women farmers could unlock huge economic potential by women in agriculture. Joint stakeholder approach like bringing together the AFDB and local banks, input producers, technical support group, marketers and consumers could result into a complete value chain. This approach brings confidence to all stake holders and makes agriculture a less costly, profitable venture where everyone works towards achieving common objectives.

By considering gender in agriculture as a serious economic sector more banking and non banking financial institutions will start focusing on this very important economic sector.

Our company, Kibogo innovate co., manufacturers of organic fertilizers are willing to offer fertilizers to women farmers as long as AFDB can guarantee payment incase of crop failure or non payment by farmers. From our market research we have confirmed that a number of customers are willing to pay some upfront diposits to farmers as long as they are guaranteed of quality supply. This is a case that proves that both monetary and non monetary guarantees can enhance market confidence and in empowering women in agriculture and accelerating expansion into agribased ventures.


Mina Coulibaly's picture



Quels sont les principaux défis pour l'égalité des sexes dans le domaine du financement agricole ?

  • Elles manquent d'accès à l'information sur le financement 
  • Le foncier : Elles ont accès au terres peu fertiles ou superficies réduites 
  • le financement : Elles ne possèdent quasiment pas de garantie demandées par les banques et les instituts de micro finance 
  •  les équipements agricoles: Elles disposent de peu d’équipements agricoles d'ou des rendement dérisoires. Les veuves sont d'avantage vulnérables.
Comment créer le bon vouloir politique d’agir sur cette problématique ?
  • Inciter les états a une bonne gouvernance foncière qui incluent les femmes  
  • octroyer des bonus au Etats qui arrivent à mettre en oeuvre des programmes volontaristes  de promotion de l'inclusion financière des femmes 

Quels mécanismes de financement pourraient être utilisés avec succès pour lutter contre l'inégalité entre les sexes dans le financement de l'agriculture ?

  • Octroyer des crédits avec des faibles taux d'intérêts
  • Des crédits adaptés aux activités des femmes ( flexibilité de paiement )                   
Minata Fahré Coulibaly
West Africa knowledge manager 
Practical Action Consulting 
Site web:  http://practicalaction.org/fr 
Twitter : @PA_WestAfrica 


Demba N's picture



20 years ago when “centralism” and interventionism were golden rules in most, if not all government platforms in Africa, it was unthinkable to get into the development arena in each of these countries involved in this exchange without encountering the stiffest rapport with such authorities…

Thanks to ongoing decentralization processes and “open government” dynamics in the making all over Africa, to date even donors have more respect of non-government actors than a couple of decades ago. In other words, creditworthiness has stopped being only ascribed to government related dealings… Civil Society and Community Based Organizations alongside with Key Opinion Leaders within their neighborhood associations with women in development…These are the key players to build the new collaboration paradigm.

With instable political institutions across the aisle, new key players in Africa are avid and ready for a New Deal meant to shifting the power balance structure.

It's time for donor community to engage more on impact monitoring, most definitely participative impact monitoring (involving civil society actors) in order to scale up the least progress made in the developing world. Without mentioning the ripple effect of such missing aggregate data irrelevant to achievements on the ground, to date most scorecards used to weigh in progress and limitations are simply outdated. (http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Millennium-Development-Goals-Scrambling-the-Development-Agenda&id=5065609)

AfDB should liaise with existing dynamic on the ground and help shape it up with the most appropriate overhaul through equipped business advisory services in communities in need.



Twenty two years ago, the Beijing Platform for Action set an ambitious agenda for addressing women’s access to finance.

It called upon Governments to:

  • “Formulate and implement policies and programmes that enhance the access of women agricultural and fisheries producers (including subsistence farmers and producers, especially in rural areas) to financial, technical, extension and marketing services; provide access to and control of land, appropriate infrastructure and technology in order to increase women's incomes and promote household food security, especially in rural areas and, where appropriate, encourage the development of producer-owned, market-based cooperatives;
  • Promote and support women's self-employment and the development of small enterprises, and strengthen women's access to credit and capital on appropriate terms equal to those of men through the scaling-up of institutions dedicated to promoting women's entrepreneurship, including, as appropriate, non-traditional and mutual credit schemes, as well as innovative linkages with financial institutions”;
  • Enhance the access of disadvantaged women, including women entrepreneurs, in rural, remote and urban areas to financial services through strengthening links between the formal banks and intermediary lending organizations, including legislative support, training for women and institutional strengthening for intermediary institutions with a view to mobilizing capital for those institutions and increasing the availability of credit;
  • Encourage links between financial institutions and non-governmental organizations and support innovative lending practices, including those that integrate credit with women's services and training and provide credit facilities to rural women;

The Beijing Platform for Action also advocated for Governments, central banks and national development banks, and private banking institutions, as appropriate to:

  • “Use credit and savings methodologies that are effective in reaching women in poverty and innovative in reducing transaction costs and redefining risk;
  • Open special windows for lending to women, including young women, who lack access to traditional sources of collateral;
  • Simplify banking practices, for example by reducing the minimum deposit and other requirements for opening bank accounts;
  • Ensure the participation and joint ownership, where possible, of women clients in the decision-making of institutions providing credit and financial services.
  • Increase the participation of women, including women entrepreneurs, in advisory boards and other forums to enable women entrepreneurs from all sectors and their organizations to contribute to the formulation and review of policies and programmes being developed by economic ministries and banking institutions;
  • Mobilize the banking sector to increase lending and refinancing through incentives and the development of intermediaries that serve the needs of women entrepreneurs and producers in both rural and urban areas, and include women in their leadership, planning and decision-making;
  • Structure services to reach rural and urban women involved in micro, small and medium-scale enterprises, with special attention to young women, low-income women, those belonging to ethnic and racial minorities, and indigenous women who lack access to capital and assets; and expand women's access to financial markets by identifying and encouraging financial supervisory and regulatory reforms that support financial institutions' direct and indirect efforts to better meet the credit and other financial needs of the micro, small and medium-scale enterprises of women”;

The Beijing Platform for Action also encouraged multilateral funders and regional development banks, as well as bilateral and private funding agencies, at the international, regional and subregional levels to:

  • “Seek to mobilize new and additional financial resources that are both adequate and predictable and mobilized in a way that maximizes the availability of such resources and uses all available funding sources and mechanisms with a view to contributing towards the goal of poverty eradication and targeting women living in poverty;
  • Support institutions that meet performance standards in reaching large numbers of low-income women and men through capitalization, refinancing and institutional development support in forms that foster self-sufficiency.
  • Review, where necessary reformulate, and implement policies, programmes and projects, to ensure that a higher proportion of resources reach women in rural and remote areas;
  • Develop flexible funding arrangements to finance intermediary institutions that target women's economic activities, and promote self-sufficiency and increased capacity in and profitability of women's economic enterprises
  • Develop strategies to consolidate and strengthen their assistance to the micro, small and medium-scale enterprise sector, in order to enhance the opportunities for women to participate fully and equally and work together to coordinate and enhance the effectiveness of this sector, drawing upon expertise and financial resources from within their own organizations as well as from bilateral agencies, Governments and non-governmental organizations.

The Platform for Action also called upon international, multilateral and bilateral development cooperation organizations to “support, through the provision of capital and/or resources, financial institutions that serve low-income, small and micro-scale women entrepreneurs and producers in both the formal and informal sectors”.

The Beijing Platform for Action also invited Governments and/or multilateral financial institutions to “review rules and procedures of formal national and international financial institutions that obstruct replication of the Grameen Bank prototype, which provides credit facilities to rural women”.

It also gave financial intermediaries, national training institutes, credit unions, non-governmental organizations, women's associations, professional organizations and the private sector the task to:

  • “Promote technical and commercial links and establish joint ventures among women entrepreneurs at the national, regional and international levels to support community-based initiatives;
  • Invest capital and develop investment portfolios to finance women's business enterprises;
  • Support credit networks and innovative ventures, including traditional savings schemes;
  • Provide networking arrangements for entrepreneurial women, including opportunities for the mentoring of inexperienced women by the more experienced;
  • Encourage community organizations and public authorities to establish loan pools for women entrepreneurs, drawing on successful small-scale cooperative models”.

These commitments are reviewed every five years and reemphasized. More recently, the AU Summit Declaration on "2015 Year of Women's Empowerment and Development towards Africa's Agenda 2063" called upon financial institutions to have a minimum quota of 50% to finance women to grow from micro to macro businesses.

What role can the AfDB play to concretise these rights in the agricultural sector?

Demba N's picture



Very much on point as far as the justification, the prospects and the context where we're at right now... With such evidentiary commnittment from early UN initiatives; 22 years lapsed and it still looks like the recommendations are better needed now more than ever before...

As we uncover the sad truth though, little to nothing has been done to meet the challenges...

AfDB in this regards might be seen for us, after decades of capitalisation on key strategic areas inherent to african development, as the first and last resort savior to bring the resources it takes to overhaul this challenge ahead.

Madalitso Chidumu's picture



Eliminating gender inequalities and ensuring that men and women have access to same productive resources, same access to financing mechanisms, and other opportunities is key to reducing food insecurity and ending hunger. To achieve this it requires strong political will from governments. Commitments that should manifest in policy responses that adresses gender inequalities in agricultural and rural sector and the specific challenges rural women face.

So the Bank can actually work with governments to facilitate the intergration of gender equality and women empowerment issues into national food security policies, programmes legislation and investment strategies. 

Inorder to get more political will to address the challenges again is to support the capacity development of governements to formulate evidence based, gender equitable food security policies.

Madalitso Chidumu (2014 AWARD fellow)
Farmer & Founder of Impact AIIC

Demba N's picture



After the “lost decades of development” of the 70s, many including myself, would not believe that development experts and politics, lobbyists, so to speak the whole development partners would repeat the mistakes of the past… Well, it’s happening right now:

  • It’s happening when institutional bias over role of women in development still prevails
  • It’s happening and hurting communities at the remotest village in Africa to date
  • It’s leading the way we still caliber genderless development approaches
  • It’s affecting the bottom line of food security as those who carry most of the workload are invisible in national statistics.

So as not to repeat the tragic mistakes of the past at times of dire needs to level up our food production and productivity balance in Africa, we must instill gender friendly approaches with minimum accountability criteria, at all levels of the agriculture value chains. Women are part of a bigger ecosystem and require a holistic approach to cater their social and financial needs within the community where they thrive.

As a specific demographic and constituency, financial literacy, education and advocacy must be sought to validate their already existing entrepreneurial skills in most cases. Existing traditional community financial inclusion schemes from Kenya to Dakar down to Malawi (Susu, tontines, village/rural microcredit proxies…) need to be revisited and revamped in light of a more accountable financial vehicle in regards to the specific cyclical nature of the overall agricultural value chain.

Last but not least, a critical data infrastructure through an exhaustive needs assessment, leading to key determination of respective priorities and opportunities in each category of the value chain must be conducted prior to simply resource provision. Today’s ability to sync various ICT processes might be of great help streamlining the process across countries and regions, widening the market needs as well as the productivity capacity along through women farmer cooperatives and associations or federations to name the latest trends.



Women are the best politicians. But they are not given 100% support by men.

Many criticisms are made to discourage women. Also the lack of funds  contributes to the women who want to contest for political posts but are not elected .



Comment la Banque dans le cadre de la Stratégie pour nourrir l'Afrique, peut-elle aborder ces défis tout en renforçant la sécurité alimentaire sur le continent ?
Un grand défi qui se présente aux institutions financières rurales est celui de réduire les coûts de transaction et d’atténuer le risque du portefeuille des prêts. La Banque pourrait donc appuyer les Institutions de Microfinance (IMF) à travers des appuis financiers pour développement de nouveaux instruments de microfinance qui prendront en compte la nature spécifique du patrimoine rural composé de terres non titrées, de cheptel, d’équipement productif, d’équipement ménager, etc. Cela nécessite que l’IMF acquière une capacité d’analyse des capacités du budget et de la rentabilité des activités menées par les femmes ; un renforcement de capacité du personnel des IMF s’avère donc nécessaire. Des innovations dans le secteur de la microfinance seront prometteuses, en suivant l’approche chaine de valeur en ce sens que les IMFs pourront investir dans les maillons où les femmes sont les plus représentées.

Quelles expériences et leçons pourraient servir à renforcer l'efficacité des interventions de la BAD dans ce domaine ?

  • Les deux expériences suivantes pourront servir.
  • ·La Location vente mutualiste du réseau CECAM à Madagascar
  • ·Le warrantage dans les pays du Sahel et au Benin

Source: Lapeneu, C. (2007). Evolutions récentes dans l’offre et les stratégies de financement de l’agriculture. Cerise

Gaba ep.Bakari
Formatrice au sein de la FEFA. Fédération des femmes Entrepreneurs et Femmes d'affaires du BENIN



Comment créer le bon vouloir politique d’agir sur cette problématique ?
Faire des pladoyer; sensibiliser des décideurs sur cette problématique;-implication des médias et la société civile dans cette démarche.

Comment la Banque dans le cadre de la Stratégie pour nourrir l'Afrique, peut-elle aborder ces défis tout en renforçant la sécurité alimentaire sur le continent?
Aller vers les acteurs impliqués dans dans cette lutte; - Renforcer la capacité des communautés en techniques culturales respectant l'environnement et ses écosystèmes dans son ensemble.

Quels mécanismes de financement pourraient être utilisés pour améliorer l’accès des femmes au financement dans l'agriculture ?
A travers les microfinancement sur la base des prêts bancaires.



Start the financial support of female farmers in rural communities through those who have members in this forum.Women farmers can be given grands or loans without  or little interest.

Demba N's picture



According to a 2014 World Bank report, Africa’s agribusiness industry is expected to be worth $1 trillion by 2030. As of now, worth $313 billion, agriculture already provides jobs for 70% of the poorest people in Africa. An growth rate greater than threefold will bring jobs to lift millions out of poverty, mostly women; most stomachs will be filled with nutritious meals, Africa’s agricultural exports will dominate global markets, and the continent’s farmers, who borne the brunt of dire economic conditions poised to getting a new lease of life as they become competitive in the global marketplace.

With up to 60 percent of the world’s uncultivated arable land, fertile soils, abundant labour, and all-year sunshine with potential to Solar Energy, sub-Saharan Africa surely can fulfill expectations of being the breadbasket of the world… better yet, has the potential to become the world’s largest exporter of food products.

Even if Africa opted to ignore export potentials, continent’s one billion people provide a huge and ready-market-for-agribusiness to flourish. Still, to date, our countries import more than 72 percent of wheat consumed, over 450,000 tons of mostly GMO’fed chicken and spend more than $10 billion on imported grains, especially rice whereas other cereals exists than could resolve the food and nutrition deficit jeopardizing the future of millions new born lacking basic early nutritional supplement needs...

The question becomes, in the midst of this potential, strength, weakness (at some point) and opportunities, will AfDB leave the responsibility and the expected ROI to other “donors” to invest in this huge domestic market overlapping to international demands?...

If no which I bet the answer is, then we need to start by IDENTIFYING, SUPORTING AND STREAMLINING (with proper metrics) THE SUCCESSES of the already existing growth potentials featured by existing islands of success stories From Senegal, Mali to Kenya and down south to further north, with a responsive integration mechanism to carry the whole…

An experience is that of "Root Capital"  a nonprofit social investment fund that grows rural prosperity in poor, environmentally vulnerable places in Africa and Latin America by lending capital, delivering financial training and strengthening market connections for agricultural small and growing businesses.

Root Capital lends to small grassroot s businesses that are locked out of the local banking system – ie too small and risky for mainstream banks and too large for microfinance – and have few alternatives for affordable credit. Root Capital provides financing for both short-term working capital loans and longer-term investments. Moreover, Root Capital seeks to make links between loan clients and higher value markets – such as Fairtrade and organic. Root Capital has commenced primarily in the coffee and cocoa sectors and does not currently have any cotton farming clients.





Faustina Boakye's picture

Which financing mechanisms could be used to improve women’s access to agriculture finance?

The use of soft loans and credit have helped many women expand their farms by buying approprite equipment, hiring labour and transporting farm or processed produce to markets.  Women involved in cash-crops like cashew, coacoa, coffee, rice and maize cultivation need enough capital to rent farm land, during the preparation and planting seasons and enough to transport produce to amrkets.  Without this, they just involve themselves in subsitence agriculture to feed the family and sell enough to buy fish or meat for meals.  Below are examples of financing mechanisms that could support women in agriculture business.

  1. Revolving loans:  These loans are on flexible terms and interest rates are very low or non-existent.  The loans are provided on revolving basis for members of association or groups, paid up on time for others to benefit.  members become their "öwners' keeper" to ensure the loans are paid on time.  members are usually committed to the cause and are serious to ensure every member benefits.  
  2.  Micro-finance credit is also provided on soft terms with very little interest to cooperatives.  Most of these are given to women cooperatives because they lack money for their trades or farming activities.  MFIs ensure the credit is paid on time and then given back to members for 3-6 month periods.  Defaulting members are put extra burdens on the other members who pay up for them in order not to miss the next installment of loans.  Continuous defaulting members are expelled from groups.  This has worked in many farming areas in Ghana.
  3. Short and medium term soft loans from mainstream state banks are also helpful despite the need for collateral in some cases.  For women involved in big farming scheme supported by NGOs or social enterprise institutions, these medium term loans could extend over two years, removing the burden of farmers trying to pay back in short terms.


Yvette Ondachi's picture



The financing mechanisms that could improve women's access to agricultural finance is one like the one used by Ojay Greene - the company I founded.

It is an input financing model.

In this model-  we identify a profitable value chain and ensure that we have offtakers for the end product.
A business case is created on the cost of inputs required per farmer as well as the expected yield and the proposed selling price the farmer should offer. Example - the inputs cost $200 and farmers are expected to produce 2tons of tomatoes selling at $0.5 per kg. The farmer's expected income is $1000. This means that the farmer can repay the inputs back with 10% interest remaining with $780 per season.

In this scenario, the farmer is not given actual cash money, rather they receive the inputs (seed, feed and crop protection). The company agronomist makes scheduled visits to the farms and establishes that the farmers receive their inputs when needed. They also give farmers advisory services on how to optimize production. When the crop cycle is ready, the company coordinates with the farmers a collection schedule. We then aggregate the produce, supply to outlets and pay the farmers. The input costs are recovered from the farmers during payment. Group crop insurance is taken once the business case has been ratified. this mitigates the risk of crop failure and in the event of crop failure, the input costs are recovered. It is noteworthy that the engagement between Ojay Greene - our company and smallholder farmers is contractual with each parties obligations being very clear.

Such a model has proved effective to improve women's access to finance. Additional capacity building offered involves - financial literacy modules- how to strengthen saving models through table banking and how to become more bankable as their farming enterprises grow.


Yvette Ondachi
Founder & Managing Director
Ojay Greene




Political 'will' has been commercialized to the extent that if one cannot pay the price they will not get political support. Certain factors however enforce political 'will'
The liberalization policies showcase one such factors where the global powers and economic drivers "encouraged" governments with incentives to take up the liberalization policies. I wish to ask one question did these policies succeed in enhancing social economic development?  transformation? health? improved livelihoods? etc? Many reports paint an image of deteriorating social economic indicators. Yet there was Political 'will' to implement them. The leaders saw benefit strategically personally and also they facilitated their political carriers (is it?). 

Equality threatens political leaders positions. We need to remove the threats or exchange them for a carrot. An example is in the arena of governance (parliamentary representation) I would say that there has been success in getting an increasing number of women representation in parliament and now in high profile jobs (Speaker, Inspector General of Government, Ministers, etc) Why? The answer is archived somewhere in the records of many NGOs supporting women in politics sensitizing masses about the ability of women, even giving funding for women to participate etc. But after the women are in such positions are they able to make thing happen positively for fellow women? No! Why? They are left to fight alone! They become frightened and disillusioned and give up and then they "wear the pants". We them come with the whip and smoother them. Who is to blame? 

It is like pouring money into agriculture production, by investing in improved varieties to increase productivity, farm implements to ease their drudgery, distributing them through women's groups so the Funders have more control over their funds, etc. Women take the challenge and produce a lot of cassava for example, too much cassava is produced. The planners sit back to let the market play the game of enabling women benefit from their labour! Politicians are happy because they have managed to deliver on their mandate of having cheap food for urban dwellers (who are a problem). The program is deemed successful by political standards. But there is no food in the homes, household poverty increases, men sell land, women moan and as usual find other tricks to manage. They grow the 'unimproved varieties' which keep long in the soil and cannot be sold at will by the men. the scientists lament 'why do they not take up new high yielding varieties? One woman respondent by the name Amulen in Osukuru Subcounty Tororo District said 

"...cassava is now like cotton you grow a lot of it your neighbor has and everybody has ..., but where is the market...?  

In this scenario who is to blame? 

It is like having a Ministry of Gender Labor and Social Development which has no roots in Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Public Service, Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation etc. We say "Mainstream Gender in all your programs". Have a gender desk in the ministry etc. They get a woman to WO-man the gender desk. she has no budget because it is mainstreamed into the programs, she is a junior senior officer, so she cannot even demand for the funds...Who is to blame?

So what can Donors / Funding Agencies do? Nurture the Political 'will' at all levels of the value chains and nurse the social ecological systems equally.

Deborah Wendiro
Chairperson UGAWARD



In my last response on How do we get more political will to address these challenges? I pointed out how the political will was nurtured in several areas and highlighted shortcomings. 

Food security is not only in the enhancing increased cassava production but in ensuring holistic comprehensive access to safe, wholesome, quality and quantity of a variety of food all the time. The approach should be systemic and nurturing, persistent and supportive. There should be linkages within and across all sectors and there should be value-good prices so we do not live off women's blood.

There are reports of promiscuous behavior among women parliamentarians in Uganda! Are they just satisfying their 'lust' or using sex to get access? Why would the cream depend in the power of the thigh to get anything done. Is it a personnel failure or national failure? Have the Donors / Funders solved one problem only to create a social economic leprosy? 

So I suggest that after we the Bank supports women to produce food, they should be supported to profitably market what remains to get money to buy other requirements. The assumption that there is market out there is wrong and only encourages them to be cheated by schemers and kept as cheap labor to produce cheap food for the market.


I have developed a production process for making lactic acid using cassava as the raw material. Nobody can take it up to invest in it because where is the market. What is surprising is that Uganda Imports 100% of all her lactic acid needs. Certain markets are exclusive especially those that are lucrative. Exclusivity may be intentional or unintentional. Unintentional exclusivity can be solved by bringing together the market and producers which would be done by information and application of science and technology.

This is assignment for another day

Deborah Wendiro
Chairperson UGAWARD



I still highlight the breadth of agriculture finance. The value chain stretches from farm to fork. That tortuous journey goes via transport industry, water and environment, energy, manufacturing, etc through market dynamics that are beyond the control, however minimal, of the women and other vulnerable groups.

The driver should be the will to enhance income that goes to the farmers especially women. We need to first strip off the transferred costs such as those to service an obtuse innovation system. Let the infrastructure be available easily. I have been enhancing access by conducting technology evaluation clinics whereby I go with the woman and look at the technology or invite a team of scientists and engineers to brainstorm with the woman and design a machine for her. This reduces the chance of her buying inappropriate machinery, or incurring costs of transport to look for machinery. I have facilitated fabrication of a fruit dryer, a banana juicer whereby after the bananas are peeled and enzymes are applied the woman presses out juice. So the bank could finance some of these activities as a way of financing agriculture. 

The gender desks in all ministries that bear on agriculture should be resourced and networked (functionally reporting to the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development) to enable them provide services to the women in a systematic and timely way.

In order for women to get access to technologies and markets, there should be exhibitions that are technology and product oriented. For example I have developed a production process for making lactic acid from cassava. They are not taking it up because "...where is the market?  Those who use it are invisible. To make them visible we hold an exhibition  during which we showcase some of the products and production processes that require lactic acid. When the women come to see they evaluate the whole process and are able to identify 'markets' they may even click deals there and then. 

So how can we say this is a financing mechanism and how can they pay back?

  1. A prospective entrepreneur would pay some money to come and get information at the same venue and also make business deals
  2. Banks can then come in and make offers on machinery etc
  3. Development agencies can also follow suit by following up such women
  4. This technology/product based approach facilitates multiplier effects in trade, business development and creates linkages between agriculture and industry, and University and       Research and Development Agencies
  5. Invisible or exclusive markets will be found which will open new prospects for women. A case in point is when I held my first joint training with Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) we got women going for the Q-Mark certification. We used the opportunity to make them acquire new technologies and establish good manufacturing production processes. Following that training if one could follow up several got loans from banks and some are pursuing.

I have found out that processing aids and additives are one of the most critical non-price factors preventing industrial growth in developing countries. Uganda for example imports 100% lactic acid, 100% enzymes, and 100% pectin etc - very important in food processing and preservation. Are you surprised that post harvest loss is high?

Financing viable enterprises is mutually rewarding to the creditor and debtor.


  • They make poor quality products because of lack of technology, inputs and know how, so financing the process of acquisition makes business sense.
  • Where they weather the tide and look for them it becomes very expensive, so placing them at the same location and at same time is programmatic technology/product based financing - also makes business sense
  • I have found out that after the women learn to manage their small production systems they enlarge their enterprises, grow and become specialized. (I could give examples of women who have farms from which they get raw materials for processing manufactured products such as juices and wine). This will trigger more demand for finance.

Deborah Wendiro
Chairperson UGAWARD



The questions explored:

  • what are the main challenges to gender equality in agricultural  finance?
  • What has been done by the AfDB, DFIs and Stakeholders to address the gender gap in agricultural finance?
  • Which financing mechanisms could be successfully used to tackle gender equality in agricultural finance?

what are the main challenges to gender equality in agricultural  finance? Main challenges to gender equality in Agricultural Finance

  • Economic exclusion; as a result of cultural rules and custom which impose domestic workloads with severe time burdens on women farmers
  • Financial systems that perpetuate women discrimination: Financial institutions are sceptical about financial management ability of women. They consider women as higher risk than men. They offer less assistance to women
  • Limited participation in political and public life: In most African countries, society do not permit women to be seen or heard in the public as such, very few women hold policy – making positions at the national level and those that do tend to be concentrated in social ministries such as health and women affairs. They rarely hold position in technical ministries like ministry of agriculture which have far reaching implication for the policies generated there. In most cases the policies are often far from addressing the main concern of women.
  • Lack of education and poor retention of girls in schools: Rural women suffer discrimination in term of access to education like any other economic opportunities in agriculture. Some rural communities in Africa belief more in male child education than female child, they  remove girls  often from schools than boys to help with farming and household work when work burden is too much
  • Gender – based violence; women and girls are often molested or raped if found in places where they should not be found culturally
  • Harmful cultural practices;  these are laws, customs, beliefs and attitudes that confine women mostly to the domestic sphere and impede their access to credit, production inputs, employment, education and medical care

What has been done by the AfDB, DFIs and Stakeholders to address the gender gap in agricultural finance?
Contributions of DFIs and AfDB Towards  Gender  Gap in Agricultural Finance

  • Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO): FAO has placed gender equity in access to resources, goods, services and decision making among its key strategic objectives in agricultural and rural development for the next 10 years with the aim of  creating social relations in which neither of the sexes suffer discrimination. FAO adopted the use of gender analysis to address differentiated access to and control over resources and decision- making within rural communities and households to designs programmes and projects that will be effective efficient and equitable.
  • IFAD empowers poor rural women and men to achieve higher income and improved food security through Micro finance system. A financial system or service that is accessible to men and women in the rural areas.

Contributions of the IFAD Microfinance system:

  • Economic empowerment: improves women’s roles in household financial management. May encourage them to invest more on their existing economic activity or start own economic activity or raise their status in household economic activity through visible capital contribution. Increased participation in economic activities may raise women or their control of their own and household income. This in turn may enable them to increase longer term investment in and productivity of their economic activity as well as their engagement in the market
  • Increased Well –being: increasing women access to finance can increase household well being. This is partly the result of economic empowerment. This in turn will increase household nutrition, health, literacy and happiness which will lead also to men’s well being, poverty reduction and changes in gender inequality in the household.
  • Social and economic empowerment of women: combination of women’s increased economic activity and decision making in the HH can lead to wider social and political empowerment. Having the opportunity to contribute to HH welfare gives women greater confidence and sense of self-worth.The positive effects in women confidence and skills, their expanded knowledge and the formation of support networks through group activity and market access can lead to enhanced status for all women in a community

Contributions of AfDB
The bank strategizes to maximize the role of African women in strategic decision making with the aims of; promoting women access to financial resources in other to maximize their participation in all parts of economy, closing the gaps in legal status and property rights and providing skills and training to make gender equality a reality. Also in the area of infrastructure AfDB aims to construct  infrastructure which will alleviate the burdens of the rural women, and to adopt projects that will benefit women more during construction and service stages

Solid evidence of the bank contributions towards gender equity is in the area of infrastructure. In 2014 the bank invested US$6.8 Billion in key projects across the continent with nearly 60% of the sum going into addressing the infrastructural gap.

The bank invested heavily in transport infrastructure by building or rehabilitating highway network, feeder roads – linking businesses and households to markets and services to reduce transport cost for farmers particularly women, raising rural income to reduce poverty and food security. The bank also invested in railroads, airports and port facilities providing women better access to markets and participation in global value chains (GVC).

The bank  funded energy sector providing more people with electric connection. It also invested heavily in water and sanitation in many African rural areas to ease the problem of public health threats associated with shortage of clean portable water and reduce the burden of women and girls who often walk long distances to access water.. The bank provided support in the areas of developing markets development,  storage facilities and irrigation infrastructure to increase crop production, processing and sales.

Contributions of the Stakeholders
In an effort to bridge the gap between men and women farmers in Nigeria various women groups and organizations have emerged.
They include national and international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), credit and thrift cooperative societies. These groups and organizations have contributed immensely to the gains women farmers have recorded and the voice they now have in overall national policy on agricultural development

One such group is Women Farmers Advancement Network (WOFAN) (Yemisi et al 2009) The main thrust of the group include; providing a forum through which members of rural Nigerian communities express themselves, encouraging the formation  of commodity groups to garner access to agricultural credit and insurance facilities; and introducing labour- saving technologies including modern farm implements and the use of solar energy.

Women – In – Agriculture in Nigeria (WIA)
The  programme was established  Nigerian government in 1998 when it became obvious that in spite of a decade of World Bank’s assistance in building up Nigeria’s agricultural extension services, women farmers were still receiving minimal assistance and information from extension agents. This arises from the fact that agricultural extension services had traditionally been focused on men and their farm production needs while neglecting the female half of the production. The WIA programme was launched to improve agricultural extension services to women. Establishment of the WIA programme ensured that extension services in each state in Nigeria has female extension workers at every level of operation from state headquarters down to the grassroots The formation of WIA farmers’ groups facilitates the dissemination of agricultural innovations and provides women with better access to farm inputs and credit. In spite of the laudable achievement recorded by WiA, a number of problems have been encountered, these include; shortage of WIA extension agents as the ratio of extension staff  to farm family is still low making it non- feasible to individually meet all the women farmers. Most of the WIA extension staff are not purely agriculture – based, not trained in agriculture and most importantly the programme is seriously underfunded.

Which financing mechanisms could be successfully used to tackle gender equality in agricultural finance?

Use of Groups and Organizations Rather than Government machinery
It has been found that women groups have proved to be one of the most effective and entry points for initiating activities and reaching the poor households. In Nigeria WIA subsisted on women groups. Government recognizing that more than one-thirds of Nigerian women belong to cooperative societies and other locally recognized formal and informal associations built on these indigenous women groups to expand th e newly established WIA program. AfDB and other DFIs can borrow and learn from this experience. 

Gender Analysis

  • In an effort to bridge the gender gap, there is the need to recognize that some issues and constraints related to participation in agriculture are gender specific and stem from the fact that men and women play different roles , have different needs and face different challenges on a number of issues and at different levels. We can not therefore, assume that women will automatically benefit from effort involving rural people in project design and implementation. There is need to support the women to be directly involve with the development and implementation of the new project
  • Rural women participation continues to be underestimated in many countries as unpaid workers are frequently excluded from national statistics and/or farm women are considered housewives in agricultural statistics, such underestimation need to be addressed in order to clearly demonstrate the importance of rural women in agriculture
Germain DOSSOU's picture



Quels sont les principaux défis pour l'égalité des sexes dans le domaine du financement agricole ?

D'abord le financement agricole peut-être appréhendé sous deux angles. Il peut avoir de subvention pour accompagner les acteurs ou de crédit remboursable par les acteurs.

Puisque les situations ne sont pas les mêmes suivant le sexe, il faut mettre en place une stratégie ou mécanisme de discrimination positive à l'endroit des femmes. L'Etat peut mettre en place un fonds de garantie pour faciliter l'accès des femmes au crédit à taux bonifié quelque soit les structures de financement décentralisé. L'autre facette de la situation souhaitable est de mettre en place des fonds de subvention dédiés uniquement aux femmes entrepreneures du secteur agricole.

Nous avons aussi le développement des associations villageoises d'épargne et de crédit (AVEC) surtout au Bénin et qui sont encouragées par l'ANaF. C'est donc une porte d'entrée non négligeable où des mécanismes de renforcement de ces AVEC peuvent être envisagés. Beaucoup de miliards sont mobilisés à travers ces AVEC, c'est pourquoi nous pensons qu'il faille mettre en place une stratégie nationale d'inclusion financière dans les pays car le secteur financier est réglémenté par les lois régionales et nationales.

La BAD peut accompagner les organisations qui travaillent pour l'inclusion financière dans la promotion des AVEC par exemple.

Germain M. DOSSOU
Expert en genre et développement
Coordonnateur ANaF-BENIN
Tél: 00229 97025285
Email: domeger2002@yahoo.fr

Justine KIELEM COULIDIATI's picture



Quels sont les principaux défis pour l'égalité des sexes dans le domaine du financement agricole ?

  • Accès aux garanties
  • Elaboration d’un plan d’affaire et son déroulement pratique sur le terrain
  • Le manque de formation en entrepreneuriat et en gestion de leur projet, des ressources humaines de l’entreprise, etc.
  • Le poids des charges sociales et familiales
  • Parfois le manque d’expertise dans le domaine

Quels mécanismes de financement pourraient être utilisés avec succès pour lutter contre l'inégalité entre les sexes dans le financement de l'agriculture ?

  • Financement des entreprises sociale des groupement et coopérative utilisant la co-responsabilisation
  • Impliquer les responsables communaux (maire) pour assurer l’accès à la terre et à l’acquisition de PFR

Comment la Banque dans le cadre de la Stratégie pour nourrir l'Afrique, peut-elle aborder ces défis tout en renforçant la sécurité alimentaire sur le continent ?

  • Se baser majoritairement sur l’entrepreneuriat social
  • Assurer le développement de l’entrepreneuriat agricole sur toute la chaine de valeur
  • Assurer l’accès des bénéficiaires aux facteurs de production, au suivi évaluation et conseil d’encadreur

Quelles expériences et leçons pourraient servir à renforcer l'efficacité des interventions de la BAD dans ce domaine ?
lever de fonds au niveau international pour financer les entreprises dans les pays africains

Dr Kiélem/Coulidiati Justine
Burkina Faso
Justine Coulidiati

Dr. Justine Coulidiati-Kielem
Centre d’Etudes, de Documentation et de Recherche Économiques et Sociales (CEDRES)
Tél: +226-70247303/+226-78660372
Présidente du GAPEF -Une Femme, Un Avenir!

Cecil NARTEY's picture



What are the main challenges to gender equality in agriculture finance?

The discussion in this forum has so far has highlighted the fact that gender disparities exist with respect to and control of productive assets. This is particularly so for issues around access to land. It appears that the main challenges of gender equality in agricultural finance is embedded in the land tenure systems of many countries across Africa. In these countries, very few women farmers have title to ownership, especially where lands are either community owned or family inherited, where women tend to be disadvantaged in the inheritance arrangements. Without proper titles, they are also not able to use their lands as collateral for seeking credit financing. This is a big hindrance to agricultural development and production, given the importance of women in food production across Africa. It is generally known that investments in land ownership and soil improvements measures are low among small-scale food crop farmers, especially women, and these lead to low fertility, low yields, and low profitability.

Due to gender disparities in land and farm sizes, relatively more women tend to be subsistence farmers, and cultivate food crops for household consumption whilst men focus on cash crops and more profitable ventures. With the increasing pressure on land in many rural communities, due to population growth, land is becoming increasingly difficult to access by women, especially those owned by communities.

Unfortunately, the policy environment in many countries do not seem to favour women due to weak government institutions for land reforms; for acquisition and property rights. For instance, in Ghana, the Government identified several challenges including weak system of administration characterized by fragmented institutions and general indiscipline in the land market through its national land policy. These problems have led to inadequate security of tenure, difficult accessibility to land and subsequent loss of livelihoods by farmers, especially women. The Government had subsequently articulated its long-term objectives to address land administration issues to reduce poverty and to enhance social and economic growth through improving security of tenure, simplifying processes of land acquisition, fostering prudent land management practices, developing the land market, and establishing an efficient and sustainable system of land administration, both state and customary (Larbi 1999). Such measures should address gender considerations to ensure women have equal access to productive assets including land.

It would be desirable to see the rights of small-scale women farmers protected, to enable them to invest in soil improvement and other measures that will help them to improve their operations, productivity and income. This is likely to lead to the improved benefits of economies of scale for women farmers.

Olufolakemi Anjorin's picture

Poor data system constitutes one of the challenges of financing in agriculture as a whole. The problem is more pronounced for women because often time it is difficult to estimate what their contribution is. Often time women farm on land not owned by them, they lack ability to determine in clear statistical terms what their production level is, for instance how many tonnes of produce they generate. Many women are more likely to sell their produce at a lower value to attend to immediate reproductive or family needs. Also, within the context of Africa, there are deeply entrenched issues of lack of proper accounting system, which constitute some level of barriers t commercial financing.

Olufolakemi Anjorin
2010 Fellow
African Women in Agricultural Research and Development

Olufolakemi Anjorin's picture

Not certain if AfDB has implemented specific programmes to address gender gaps. However, there is renewed effort by the bank to address gender issue, a course which is being vigorously pursued. The bank is trying to identify bankable projects in the agriculture value chain to invest in. A number of the recently launched initiatives have a gender focus  

Olufolakemi Anjorin
2010 Fellow
African Women in Agricultural Research and Development

Olufolakemi Anjorin's picture

Women clusters are still the best entry point to providing agriculture financing to women. This will rely on a trustworthy approach that women can rely on and an approach that is sustainable.

In addition there is a need to design long-term financial security system for women. For instance can we begin to think of a pension scheme for women in agriculture where pension fund administrators help women to estimate the level of savings they can put aside for latter years? How about insurance scheme that can serve as a back-up in case of loss of agricultural produce from event such  like flooding  or other effect of climate change. AfDB consideration for some of these key issues will represent what can be described as includive approach for financing agriculture with a gender focus

Olufolakemi Anjorin
2010 Fellow
African Women in Agricultural Research and Development



English | Français

Dear practitioners and Gender Champions,

A huge thank you for all the submissions. Before this discussion closed, I had a chance to go through the discussion thread again and review your insights and ideas.

You have given us so much to think about. So many thoughts, insights, experiences, convictions shared, it was a truly great to have the richness of your views. The discussion looked at the fundamental issues around gender equality, the main challenges for female farmers' access to finance; it gave recommendations on how we as a development community can be more effective, it shed light on women in agribusiness and also shared personal experience around what worked. 

We will share a brief summary of this rich discussion within a week and will share it with all the contributors and beyond.  We shall also prepare a policy document with the key strategies and mechanisms that were suggested in the way forward.

We hope that the discussion does not stop here and we can continue to reach out to each other as members of this community of practice. Please continue to take this forward and make a difference for women’s empowerment on the African continent.

Keep making a difference, a day at a time!

Kindest personal regards


English | Français

Chers colleagues et champions de l'egalité des sexes

Un grand merci pour toutes vos contributions durant cette discussion. Avant que cette discussion ne se termine, j'ai eu l'occasion de passer en revue nos échanges et d'examiner les idées que nous avons partagées.

Vous nous avez vraiment enrichi. Tant de pensées, d'idées, d'expériences, de convictions partagées!. C'était vraiment magnifique de percevoir la richesse de vos points de vue et opinions. La discussion a porté sur les questions fondamentales concernant l'égalité entre les sexes et les principaux défis pour l'accès des femmes au financement de l'agriculture. Nous avons examiné des recommandations sur la façon dont nous, en tant que membres de la communauté de développement, et dans nos différents rôles, pourrions être plus efficaces; pourrions éclairer les femmes agricultrices et nous avons aussi partagé  nos expériences personnelles sur ce qui a fonctionné.

Nous partagerons avec tous les participants, un bref résumé de cette riche discussion dans quelques jours. Nous allons également préparer un document de politique avec les stratégies et mécanismes clés qui ont été suggérés pour pallier à ces défis.

Nous espérons que la discussion ne s'arrêtera pas ici et nous pourrons continuer à échanger les uns avec les autres en tant que membres de notre communauté de pratique. Je vous encourage à continuer à avancer et à faire une différence pour l'autonomisation des agricultrices sur le continent africain.

Continuons ensemble à faire une différence, un jour à la fois!

Meilleures salutations



Les défis sont:

  • mettre fin à la pauvreté,
  • lutter contre les inégalités  
  • l'inégalité.

La BAD peut ameliorer ses activités par :

  • prise en compte du genre dans ses projets et programme de développement.

Mécanismes  de financement appropriés:

  • améliorer les conditions  de participation  des femmes aux activités économiques et sociales et culturelles.
  • Favoriser  l'accès  des femmes aux facteurs de production.
  • Que les femmes jouissent des mêmes avantages que les hommes 
  • Faciliter l'accès des femmes au foncier et aux moyens  de production.
  • Veiller à l'application  effective des textes et lois.
  • Permettre aux femmes l'accès à certaines  opportunités. 

Les acteurs clés sont les gouvernements, les ptf, les lmf, les ong et projets de développement.  Ainsi que les populations bénéficiaires pourraient mieux s'impliquer dans la gestion  des projets de développement.