Expanding capacities for women farmers in Rwanda

Date: Friday, August 26, 2016

Farmers in Rwanda use the mobile platform to connect to the agricultural supply chain via text messages.
A Farmer being registered on the BuyFromWomen Platform. Photo: UN Women

“Before, we used to struggle to know the exact size of our land”, says Christine Mukarukundo, a maize farmer member of Tuzamurane Cyeza Cooperative in Muhanga District, in the Southern Province of Rwanda. She recalls that the farmers were unable to predict their level of production, which made negotiating with buyers and financial institutions difficult.

Since joining UN Women’s innovative “Buy from Women” platform, men and women farmers from 10 cooperatives in Rwanda have benefited from the digital, mobile-enabled platform that connects small holder farmers to the agricultural supply chain and provides them with critical information on market prices, sensitization on gender equality, and business opportunities via text messages.

The registration process for the platform includes a mapping of farmers’ land plots, which is then used to generate a yield forecast. It also captures farmers’ and cooperatives’ experience with finance and provides real time reports. Using technology, the initiative also addresses the specific barriers that women farmers face.

“We used to sign contracts with buyers and not be able to meet its terms, especially related to supplies because farmers would sell part of their produce on the side. Now with this system, everyone will know in advance the quantity of produce that he or she is required to bring at the Cooperative, and this will motivate everyone to meet the requirement and even aim to produce surplus,” added Beatrice Mukanoheli, another woman member and Adviser of the Cooperative.

To read the full story visit the UN Women Africa website.