AGRA on 6th September announced the winners of the 2023 Women Agripreneurs of the Year Awards (WAYA2023) at the Africa Food Systems Forum, AGRF2023 held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. These women were recognized for illuminating the path to excellence through their groundbreaking innovations driving transformative growth in the agricultural sector across Africa.
According to AGRA, women are the backbone of agriculture in Africa, comprising over 50% of agricultural labour force in developing countries. These numbers underscore the importance of ensuring that women smallholder farmers enjoy a level playing field, with Value4her coming in to support women in agriprenuership.
Founded in 2006, AGRA is an African-led African-based organization that seeks to catalyze agriculture transformation. This year’s heroines hail from from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and Senegal received a total of $85,000 in grant funding during the ceremony in various categories: Outstanding Value Adding Enterprise, Female Ag Tech Innovator, Young Female Agripreneur (Rising Star), and Grand Prize.
Women Agriprenuer of the Year Award (WAYA), currently in its third edition was launched in 2021 at the AGRF Summit in Nairobi, Kenya. It is an important part of AGRA’s VALUE4HER program. WAYA recognizes women agripreneurs from across the continent, who have excelled in different segments of the agricultural value chain and have shown remarkable innovation in their businesses.
The awards aim to create visibility for successful women, serving as positive role models, stimulating innovation, and fostering ambition among African women agripreneurs.
This year, the four exceptional winners were selected from a pool of 1,340 candidates spanning 42 African countries, all of whom, are recognized for their commitment to shaping the future of agri-food systems through pioneering new ideas, technologies, and sustainable practices to positively impact their communities.
The awards were spearheaded by a panel of resolute and experienced judges that included Betty Kiplagat, the Government Affairs Leader for Africa & the Middle East at Corteva, Binta Touré Ndoye, a Pan-African banker, Caroline Emond, the CEO of International Dairy Federation, Marieme Esther Dassanou, the Director of Gender Programs at MasterCard Foundation, and Judy Matu, the National Executive Chairlady at AWAK.
Speaking at the Awards ceremony, Dr Agnes Kalibata, president of AGRA, congratulated the remarkable laureates for their dedication towards transforming challenges into opportunities and reshaping the landscape of Africa’s agro food systems.
“Over the past two editions, we have witnessed remarkable stories of resilience, innovation, and unwavering dedication,” Dr Agnes Kalibata said. “These women have demonstrated their ability to drive positive change, inspire their communities and contribute significantly to food security, climate adaptation, economic growth, and sustainable development.
She said their journeys stand as a testament to the huge potential that lies within every individual, regardless of their gender.
Grand Prize Winner: Siny Samba, CEO, Le Lionceau (Senegal). The award recognizes the female owned agri-business that exhibits the best innovations in the agri-business sector across all the categories.
Young Female Agripreneur (Rising Star): Lucy Chioma Aniagolu, Founder, Agrodemy Enterprises, (Nigeria). This award recognizes high-potential young females (below 35 years) demonstrating innovation and leadership in agribusiness.
Female Ag Tech Innovator: Maryanne Ruguru Gichanga, Director, AgriTech Analytics (Kenya). The award recognizes female agripreneurs championing technological advancement in agribusiness.
Outstanding Value-adding Enterprise: Bernice Dapaah, CEO, Bright Generation Community Foundation-Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative (Ghana). The award recognizes female-owned agribusinesses that are increasing the economic value and/or consumer appeal to agricultural products.