During the 3rd Women in Agribusiness Conference that was held in Durban recently Fotabong said that women have the potential to accelerate and contribute more to Africans economy through business
“Women starting up in business tend to provide a more immediate contribution to the economy around one in five come into self-employment from unemployment compared with around one in fifteen for men “she said
A case study of Beauty Manake a young farmer from Botswana in 2009, Beauty started Kungo Farms, a 35-hectare farm situated 8km from her home village of Bobonong in central Botswana. “I grow vegetables such as tomatoes, sweet peppers and cabbages all year round on a rotational basis,” she said.
She has since extended the estate to include over 250 fruit trees such as mangoes, citrus, plums and litchis. Some 550 km from Kungo Farms, Beauty opened up a beef production cattle ranch of 3,600 hectares called Pii Jena, which means ‘milk borehole,’ in the local Khoisan language.
The ranch now has about 500 cattle and Beauty practices what she calls winner production. “In winner production, we take the calves from their mothers when they are about eight months, then we take them off the veld, and sell them to the Botswana Meat Commission which is our biggest and most lucrative market, and then they continue in the whole value chain of slaughtering and finishing the beef,” she explained.
But Beauty, like many other farmers in dry Botswana, faces significant challenges, with climate change frequently denting her resolve.
“Each and every year, I am hit by something. If it is not heat, it’s frost…this year there was no frost but heat has just hit us right now…It wipes off the whole thing… there is no insurance… Everything dies there and that’s the rest of you. You have to start reinvesting again. Buying new plants, buying new fertilizers, buying everything….It’s amazing and we still go back to it, and the reason why I am still in this business is because I believe there is potential for growth. If people are eating every second, what stops us from making money from it?”
“Now, I’m passionate about it, I live it, I eat it, I do everything to do with farming…for me, walking into a field every day and seeing how green it is, smelling the smell of oranges…it’s therapeutic,” she said.
Beauty Manake won’t reveal her earnings, but admits that she does not regret resigning from her white-collar job. “There is money in agriculture,” she added
Beauty’s involvement in agribusiness falls in line with persistent campaigns by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, NEPAD, that sees increased agricultural yields and the development of value chains as the way to go for Africa to achieve sustainable development.
According to The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2016/17 Women’s Report released recently found women’s entrepreneurial activity globally is up 10 per cent.
The report reads that female entrepreneurship rates in Sub-Saharan Africa are the highest in the world, according to a new report that says women’s entrepreneurial activity is increasing globally.
Sub-Saharan Africa leads the way, with its female entrepreneurship rates the highest globally. 25.9 per cent of the female adult population is engaged in early-stage entrepreneurial activity in the region.
Within the continent, Senegal was the best performer with 36.8 per cent while South Africa has lowest number of women entrepreneurs active in the region at just 5.9 per cent. The majority of African women entrepreneurs – 61.8 per cent – said they started a business because they are taking advantage of opportunity, rather than out of necessity.
Sub-Saharan Africa does however also have the highest discontinuance rate – at 8.4 per cent. Around 56 per cent of women entrepreneurs in the region cite either unprofitability or lack of finance as a reason for closing down their business.
In the past year, 163 million women were starting businesses across 74 economies worldwide, while 111 million were running established businesses.