Across rural communities and indeed Subsaharan Africa, the vast majority of farmers are women. The potential of women entrepreneurs remains largely untapped in developing and emerging markets, with many lacking access to the financial services, skills and opportunities they need to become successful business owners
Farm Concern International through Mama Trade Approach a Swahili term translated “women in trade” realizes that women spend a lot of time running between their households, the farm and market place. This in the process leads to lots of time wastage that impact on their outputs. FCI has worked with these rural communities and encountered the difficult task of women in managing household, farms and facilitating market access for their produce.
FCI Mama Trade business approach is aimed at encouraging, motivating and engaging the women in Africa to intensify their participation in Agricultural Systems for increased incomes. The model is applied through an interactive and women integrative approach that demystifies the myth that being a farmer results to poverty and that farming is for the elderly. A good example of women intervention by FCI is the E-Women dial up Initiative developed by FCI, the Afma-X (Africa Markets and Farms Exchange) platform is a mobile phone based virtual platform with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation under GCE Phase1. The integrated virtual platform enables input sourcing, services and commodity virtual trading that integrates marketing (e-marketing), business services (e-logistics), payment system (e-payments) and partnerships (e-business partnerships). From the E-women dial up project 95.8% of the farmers registered on Afma-X have saved time and labour through use of the platform.
This resulted because the women small holder farmers would be able to directly order for inputs and obtain market information using their mobile phones without having to travel the long distances to the markets to purchase inputs and obtain market information.
FCI VISION : To have commercialized smallholder communities with increased incomes for improved, stabilized & sustainable livelihoods in Africa and beyond