Women make a crucial contribution to agriculture in West and Central Africa.
However, they are still seriously challenged by serious gender-based issues, especially when they are entrepreneurs.
Faced with this observation, CORAF is bringing together from April 11th in Abidjan, women working in the seed industry, to train them on best practices in seed production and seed business management.
“Women are involved in the seed sector where we find their presence especially in seed processing and in laboratories. But as entrepreneurs, women face a serious gender gap in access to productive resources and competitive markets,” says Dr. Mariame Maïga, Regional Gender and Social Development Advisor at CORAF.
“It is with the aim of bridging this gap and to promote women’s entrepreneurship that CORAF is organizing this training, which targets only women who are evolving in the seed industry, despite the stereotypes,” she adds.
For 5 days, twenty-five women will therefore be trained on various topics: production techniques, drying, treatment and storage of quality seeds, seeds quality control and compliance with regional seeds certification systems, commercial management of seeds business, women’s leadership and seeds business, and many more.
The training modules are expected to enhance participants’ knowledge and skills in quality seeds production and regulatory aspects of seed production —in West and Central Africa, and provide participants with essential knowledge needed to manage seed enterprises.
“Participants will acquire skills that will help them better position themselves in the seed industry, whether in seeds production or marketing,” says Dr. Maïga.
“Currently in West and Central Africa, access to quality seeds is not yet guaranteed to all farmers. Greater involvement of women in the sector will undoubtedly reduce the gap by making quality seeds accessible, especially to smallholders,” underlines Dr. Yacouba Diallo, Agricultural Inputs Expert at CORAF.
The workshop takes into consideration, challenges associated with vegetative propagated crops like cassava and banana -which by their nature, production and distribution is not attractive to commercial companies, forage species for livestock, fingerlings, etc. Since all of them have a business potential for women.
The capacity building initiative falls under the framework of the Partnership for Agricultural Research, Education and Development in West Africa (PAIRED) programme.
Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Regional Mission for West Africa, PAIRED is a program that aims at strengthening the CORAF on the one hand, and on the other hand, at facilitating the scaling up of technologies and increasing the production and availability of quality seeds for West African farmers.