“In the family, the husband is viewed as the repository of household knowledge. By empowering women, there will be two sources of knowledge, which will enhance learning and uptake of new practice by all family members. If I can at least show five women farmers that they are good enough, that will be meaningful to make a change”, states Ms Mantegbosh Awoke, a 23-year-old agriculture extension agent in Ambeshen kebele (ward), North Achefer.
Ms Asmogn Gashu, 50-year-old mother of seven, is a lead farmer engaged in tomato production in Gug kebele, North Achefer. She explains that joining the Farmer Field School (FFS) scheme has opened up a whole new world: “Earlier I was staying at home. Now I am out and I meet different people and am learning from different experiences. Also, I am becoming more assertive in my communication and my ideas.”
Edget Lerobit Savings and Credit Cooperative (SACCO) in Robit kebele in Bahir Dar Zuria district has received ETB 600,000 in loanable funds for the AgroBIG Women and Youth Loan Fund (WYLF). To date, a total of 16 women and 6 men have received a loan via this fund for developing their agribusinesses.
Eleven Finnish journalists visited AgroBIG supported farmers and entrepreneurs in February. Their visit was part of the annual ‘Development Academy’ organized by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.
AgroBIG is co-financing a scheme to support farmers with access to irrigation in North Mecha, North Achefer, Bahir Dar Zuria and Dera districts to improve the quality and productivity of vegetables through the Farmer Field School (FFS) approach. This is being undertaken in cooperation with Horti-LIFE, one of the agricultural projects run by Dutch development agency SNV. Since the cooperation between AgroBIG and SNV-Horti-LIFE was launched, 1800 farmers have been engaged in the scheme.
A private company farming 50 hectares in North Mecha district – KogaVeg – is engaging surrounding smallholders in a contract farming arrangement to supply fresh sugar snaps, snow peas and baby corn to European markets. AgroBIG has facilitated the involvement of 43 farmers during the 2018/19 off-season, enabling them to learn more about the concept of contract farming.
Ms Delela Abebaw is a rural landholder from the village of Gergera, in Dera district. At 18 years of age, she is one of the youngest members of the local Selam Lelemat Saving and Credit Cooperative (SACCO) serving the village. In July 2018, Ms Delela was awarded 15,000 ETB from the AgroBIG Women and Youth Loan Fund – disbursed via the SACCO – to boost her maize and potato production business, and finance an additional sheep fattening venture.
During its second phase, AgroBIG has engaged three Cooperative Saving and Credit Unions (COSACUs) in the target districts as partners in managing the revolving Women and Youth Loan Fund instrument (EUR 800,000). The funds are disbursed via the COSACUs to participating village Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs), who in turn issue working capital loans to individual women and youth members as well as to women and youth groups upon approved loan requests. To date, 11 SACCOs have received loan funds for 484 clients (of which 78% are women) to engage in business in AgroBIG selected commodities.
Tailor-made in-service trainings are an integral part of AgroBIG strategy aiming to strengthen the capacities of key implementers. Since the beginning of Programme implementation, several training sessions have been successfully managed by AgroBIG Programme Support Unit.
AgroBIG has established two Cluster Platforms to serve stakeholders within the Programme area. The Platforms aim to bring together all value chain actors, supporters and enablers to discuss common agendas related to the value chains that AgroBIG supports, and to ensure that all value chain actors’ capacities, contributions and needs are considered in Programme implementation.