Women Farmers: using tech to boost their farm businesses in Africa
Vodacom Foundation is helping women farmers in South Africa take advantage of technology through its Women Farmers Programme, delivered in partnership with UN Women and South African Women in Farming (SAWIF).
The Women Farmers Programme provides digital literacy training and has helped more than 1,300 women farmers develop their digital skills since its pilot in 2018 in rural areas of Limpopo and KwaZulu Natal.
Women account for nearly half of the world’s smallholder farmers. In Africa, women farmers are responsible for producing around 70% of the continent’s food1. The agricultural sector is a significant provider of opportunities for employment and economic growth, particularly in poorer and rural areas.
Technology can play a critical role in helping smallholder farmers reach new customers and grow their businesses. However, women farmers in Africa – particularly those from rural areas and less privileged backgrounds – often lack access to the training or digital skills needed to take advantage of technology and the benefits it can offer.
Four women farmers - Matete Mokgetlhe, Mologadi Lekala, Ivy Moagi and Deborah Motuku – discuss the impacts of the Women Farmers Programme in the video below.
The Women Farmers Programme offers an initial phase of training which helps women farmers learn basic digital skills such as word processing, creating financial spreadsheets and using search engines and social media. Women farmers on the programme then move on to a second phase which helps connect them with larger enterprises and suppliers through Connected Farmer, an app designed by the technology company Mezzanine, a subsidiary of Vodacom Group.
Connected Farmer offers real-time information on what other farmers are producing across regions in Africa, as well as providing access to new markets and digital financial services.
With new digital skills, women farmers have the potential to transform their businesses through technology and make a vital contribution to increasing productivity and tackling poverty in Africa.
Learn more about Vodafone’s work in Africa.
1) Jamila Abass, “Women grow 70% of Africa's food. But have few rights over the land they tend” (World Economic Forum, 2018), https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/03/women-farmers-food-production-land-rights
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