August 11, 2014
Walmart Foundation Supports Expansion of Female Farmer Training in Zambia
Agribusiness Systems International (ASI), USAID, and the Walmart Foundation Announce Public-Private Partnership at First Spouses’ Summit
The Walmart Foundation and USAID announced their public-private partnership to expand Zambian farmers’ access to agricultural training and improved productivity. The announcement came on August 6 during the First Spouses’ Summit held in Washington, D.C., as part of the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Forum.
The Walmart Foundation is supporting Agribusiness Systems International (ASI), an affiliate of ACDI/VOCA, to implement the Women’s Improved Marketing and Asset Control (WIMAC) project, which is expected to reach 45,000 Zambian farmers, 50 percent of whom are women. WIMAC is part of Walmart Foundations’ Global Women’s Economic Empowerment initiative to train 500,000 women in agriculture value chains in emerging markets.
“The Walmart Foundation is pledging $3 million to train farmers in Rwanda, Zambia, and Kenya,” said Maggie Sans, vice president of international corporate affairs for Walmart. “Through these projects, these farmers will receive high-quality farm inputs, such as seed and fertilizer, and credit and post-harvest support. This will mean they can participate more fully and fairly in the rural agriculture industry. I was honored to be a part of the Africa Summit and can’t wait to witness what’s next for Africa—and especially for its people.”
Increasing Women’s Leadership in Groundnuts and Soybeans
WIMAC targets farmers in groundnut and soybean value chains. Groundnuts are Zambia’s second-most cultivated crop and are often labeled as a “woman’s” crop, providing a major source of income for women. Despite this, there are very few women involved at the higher levels of the groundnut value chain.
Soybeans are newer to Zambia, but the markets for soybean meal and oil are growing rapidly. Women’s participation in these value chains will be expanded by increasing their access to financial resources and addressing production and post-harvest inefficiencies.
Partnership Leverages and Expands Existing Project
The WIMAC project will expand the geographic coverage of ACDI/VOCA’s PROFIT+ project, which is funded by USAID and part of the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative. PROFIT+ works in the Eastern Province and peri-urban areas of Lusaka to increase agricultural productivity and facilitate inclusive access to markets and private sector investment. The project is designed to ensure that women and vulnerable groups benefit from value chain strengthening.
“ASI and ACDI/VOCA are excited to be a part of this public-private partnership between the Walmart Foundation and USAID,” said PROFIT+ Chief of Party Sylvester Kalonge. “We will work closely with WIMAC to maximize our synergies and outreach so that we are able to respond to the unique needs of Zambian women farmers.”
Gender-sensitive, Farmer Group-focused Training
WIMAC’s approach to training uses a cascade approach that relies on training key members from a farmer or cooperative group who then train their fellow members. The trainings give farmer groups the skills to improve the quality of their commodity to meet buyer demand, develop stronger relationships with market actors, and promote female leadership.
A gender barrier analysis conducted as part of the PROFIT+ project revealed that women farmers often have heavier workloads, limited access to resources and services, and less decision-making power than male farmers. These inequalities are being addressed in the gender-sensitive messages that are incorporated in the agricultural trainings.
Learn more about ASI and ACDI/VOCA
Public-private community partnerships have been a hallmark of ASI’s work, and our engagement with the Walmart Foundation began in 2011. Founded in 1993 as an affiliate of ACDI/VOCA, ASI is a nonprofit consulting organization that provides technical services in support of private sector development. ASI uses a market-driven systems approach to identify constraints and opportunities in the economic environment. We then research, design, and implement interventions that empower market actors to invest in value chains to sustainably improve productivity and profitability. Learn more about ASI.
ACDI/VOCA is a nonprofit international development organization that delivers technical and management assistance in agribusiness, financial services, enterprise development, community development, and food security in order to promote broad-based economic growth and vibrant civil society. Learn more about ACDI/VOCA.
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