In the developing countries where Fintrac works, women hold the key to improving the quality of life and increasing the food security of rural families. While men may have greater access to land, credit, and market networks, women have the potential to be the drivers of agricultural productivity. Fintrac focuses on the following five key pathways to integrate women into agricultural value chains and ensure all household members benefit from expanded economic opportunities.
Reducing Time and Labor Demands
Women juggle a multitude of daily household and caretaking tasks. Introducing labor-saving agricultural practices such as irrigation systems, mulching, and improved planting material helps save women time and energy. For example, women often spend a disproportionate amount of time collecting and carrying water to and from the fields. Basic irrigation systems free women’s time for other activities.
In Nepal, Fintrac helped install 820 groundwater irrigation systems to increase agricultural productivity. As a result, women were able to spend more time as active participants in Fintrac-led technical assistance trainings. More than one third of the commercial agriculture beneficiaries who saw average sales increase by 800 percent were women.
Expanding Access to Knowledge
Fintrac provides gender-sensitive training at times and places that are convenient for women to ensure they receive equal access to the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in agriculture. Trainings focus on areas in which women participate most, while also introducing new topics such as basic business skills, accounting, finance, and investment to help farms transition into more value-added, profit-generating businesses.
In Tanzania, nearly 50 percent of training participants were women under USAID-TAPP. Trainings were held at locations close to women’s homes and at times of the day when women are available to participate. These trainings introduced topics that help increase yields, decrease workloads, and enhance the food security of entire households.
Unlocking Access to Inputs and Assets
Fintrac helps women access the inputs, infrastructure, and training they need to increase income-generating opportunities. We facilitate access to credit and finance, which is often a key barrier to women’s participation in the agricultural sector, by specifically targeting female borrowers through specially-designed loan facilities.
In Zimbabwe, under the USAID Zim-AIED project, women accounted for nearly one third of borrowers through our AgriTrade loan facility. Today under the Feed the Future Zimbabwe Livestock Development program, 36 percent of feedlot borrowers are women.
Beyond promoting high-value, commercially-oriented crops, Fintrac focuses clients on value-added products that create jobs for women in packing, grading, product selection, and quality control. We also help improve procedures and product diversification at processing plants to increase quality and output, expanding job opportunities and income potential for women.
In Honduras, Fintrac provided technical assistance in processing and marketing for Productos LINA, a woman owned processing plant. Its gross sales grew 230 percent in the span of one year, creating dozens of new jobs.
Broadening Decision Making Authority
Women are sometimes unable to influence the decisions that directly affect farm yields and household income. Fintrac promotes agriculture as a family business, giving women the ability and autonomy to make decisions. We train women in leadership skills, negotiation, and group formation. Fintrac also prioritizes hiring female agronomists and technicians who can serve as role models for female clients in target communities.