As part of its continuing effort to empower women, Access Bank has joined forces with African Women in Agriculture (AWiA) to help develop female agripreneurs through the isiVuno Project.
Increased agricultural activity is key to achieving progress towards poverty reduction, particularly in certain areas of South Africa where the link between poverty and hunger is most acute. As a solution to this, African Women in Agriculture (AWiA) is a non-profit organisation with a vision to capacitate women in agribusiness by helping them start and grow a robust community within the emerging farmer ecosystem in Africa.
A joint partnership between AWiA and Access Bank, the isiVuno project was set up with the goal of securing the future of food security by fostering the establishment of urban vertical vegetable gardens. It also supports entrepreneurial development and formalisation of agricultural businesses for young women in Orange Farm, thus building a network of new female community farmers and shortening food miles.
To meet these goals, twenty female out-growers from Orange Farm community, a semi-rural underdeveloped area south of Johannesburg, were selected to be beneficiaries of a backyard vertical farming innovation. Called the ‘AmaVeggie Pyramid’, this device is not only innovative but economically viable too.
The end-to-end project mobilised, recruited, trained and equipped the group of agripreneurs as well as offering access to market and support for two growing cycles. The focus was on providing training in efficient crop production to increase yields of a few key crops in a sustainable way such as spinach – both for personal use and for sale.
All 20 beneficiaries attended a three-day training programme at AWiA’s farming Enterprise in Eikenhof. Over the course of the three days, training subjects ranged from agro-ecology, entrepreneurship and vertical farming practices to business management, personal development and financial literacy. Training also included teaching the agripreneurs to set up and establish their AmaVeggie pyramid at their homes once training was completed. Finally, some participants were afforded the opportunity to open accounts with Access bank.
Through the isiVuno Project, AWiA and Access Bank are together empowering women’s entrepreneurship for a more sustainable future within Africa and beyond.
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