AGRA Celebrates International Women’s Day, Launches 2024 Edition of the Women Agripreneurs of the Year Awards (WAYA)

[Abuja, Nigeria, March 8, 2024] – AGRA marked this year’s International Women’s Day with a vibrant ceremony at the Chida Events Center in Abuja, Nigeria. This significant event paid homage to pioneering women across Nigeria and the continent who are leading the way in inclusive agricultural transformation. Aligning with the United Nations’ theme for International Women’s Day, AGRA gathered women in agribusiness and influential leaders from various policy levels to emphasize the critical need for investments in women to foster progress within the agri-food sector.

In a major highlight of the day, AGRA announced the opening of applications for the 2024 edition of the Women Agripreneurs of the Year Awards (WAYA), a prestigious recognition program that celebrates female agripreneurs who have shown remarkable innovation and business acumen in agricultural value chains. The awards not only commend these women for their achievements but also offer grants of up to $300,000 to support their enterprises.

Since its inception in 2021, the WAYA has recognized excellence across three categories: Young Female Agripreneur, Female Agriculture Tech Innovator, and Outstanding Value Adding Enterprise. Starting in 2024, the awards will introduce regional winners for the Young Female Agripreneurs category and two new categories: Women Empowerment Champion and Resilient & Inspirational Leader. These additions aim to recognize women who are creating opportunities for others and those demonstrating exceptional perseverance despite challenges. The application deadline is set for May 31, 2024, with the winners to be announced at the Africa Food Systems Forum in Kigali, Rwanda.

Eligibility for the awards requires businesses to operate within the agricultural or agribusiness value chains, be legally registered in an African Union country, and be at least 51% owned and managed by women citizens of the 55 African countries.

AGRA’s Lead for Gender Integration, Ms. Winnie Osulah, expressed optimism about the impact of the awards, citing the reception of over 1,500 applications from women across 38 African countries in the previous year. Osulah anticipates even greater participation this year and reaffirms AGRA’s commitment to celebrating the tireless efforts, innovative ideas, and leadership of women in the agri-food sector.

The awards are part of AGRA’s VALUE4HER initiative, aimed at strengthening women’s agribusiness enterprises and enhancing their advocacy across Africa. The event also saw contributions from the AGRA Gender Consortium in Nigeria, which includes partners like Synergos, UN Women, and the Legal Awareness for Nigerian Women (LANW). This consortium has been pivotal in promoting knowledge sharing and collaboration to address gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, particularly in the agriculture sector.

The celebration featured interactive workshops, panel discussions, and networking sessions, fostering exchanges of experiences, ideas, and best practices. These activities underscored the importance of creating supportive environments for women’s full participation in all societal aspects and highlighted the necessity for evidence-based interventions to tackle gender disparities.