Agency lists industrialization , partnership as solution to agricultural challenges

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To tackle agriculture’s $15.6 billion gender financing gap and imminent crisis in the sector, HerVest has listed partnerships and industrialization as critical factors in addressing them.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO), HerVest, Solape Akinpelu, noted that though there had been growth in the sector as a result of technological solutions, Africa’s food demand would rise exponentially due to its rapidly growing population, expanding middle class, rapid urbanization, altering dietary habits and consumer-oriented culture.

She also stressed the danger the Russia-Ukraine war poses to Africa, as both countries supply 30 per cent of worldwide wheat exports.

“The cost of wheat has risen as a result of this situation to 50 per cent of the actual cost, while the price of fertilizer has tripled amid a stable rising in the cost of energy,” Akinpelu said.

She added that in line with increased food demand, there is a need for a more efficient food production process to reduce wastage at all levels of the agricultural value chain, allowing farmers to raise yields, access markets and earn fair returns while ensuring reduced consumer costs.

She noted that HerVest had impacted over 5,000 female farmers across Borno, Plateau, Kaduna, Benue, Niger, Oyo, Ogun and Kwara states with ongoing efforts to onboard more farmers across the country.

According to her, apart from providing credit financing for women farmers, HerVest was working with CBN-licensed platforms, such as Flutterwave, FBNQUEST and VFD Microfinance Bank and operates an easy-to-use digital platform for savings and investment.

“Through HerVest’s support, female farmers, who contribute over 70 per cent to Nigeria’s food production, can produce a lot more, thereby increasing their yield and saving the continent from the potential food crisis,” she said.

Akinpelu stated that the social enterprise also provides access to free mentoring on financial literacy from aspiring women leaders, women-focused tools, guides and growth insights in engaging underserved women across Nigeria.

The Guardian