Mr Benjamin Gyan-Kesse, Executive Director, Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC), has hinted that KIC is set to highlight and drive solutions to address key barriers to economic growth for women.
He said over 180 Agri-startups will be created and 900 Agri-MSMEs supported in the next year while fifty per cent of them will be women-led businesses which will be supported to better structure their operations, become investor-ready, and get connected to pre-qualified investors.
KIC will also support them with financing sources including debt, equity, and crowdfunding, thereby unlocking access to finance and growth opportunities.
Mr Gyan-Kesse who gave the hint in a report copied to the igoghana said the KIC was also investing in agribusinesses that focus on bridging the gender gaps across the Agri value chain, such as Trotro Tractor Ltd which will operate a ride-hailing business model for farmers looking to rent tractors to plough their farms.
This, he said will eliminate the biases that women face when looking to rent tractors.
“Women in agriculture play a vital role, yet they have been excluded from accessing finance. Women working in agriculture say they have less access to financing than men. Some women are incapable of getting loans at all, due to legal or cultural barriers, and if women do manage to get loans, they are often smaller than the loans granted to men for similar purposes.” He noted.
Mr Gyan-Kesse further hinted that KIC’s A2F consortium will enable female farmers to access finance easier by bringing access to finance solutions/models such as crowdfunding, invoice financing, insurance and assets financing among others to women smallholder farmers.
He noted that it was becoming more evident that the world cannot continue to exclude half of the human population in development because of age-old biases that have no place or significance in the modern world and for that matter, the world should strive for an international women’s day where all women everywhere would be free from the oppression of cultural, economic, religious, and societal stereotypes.
“When that day comes, we won’t only celebrate the few women who made it in spite of the system but every woman who can live a life of dignity because we have dismantled those biases. We are not free until every one of us is free; break the bias”, he opined.
According to him, it was time to zero in on and eliminate one of the important impediments to gender equality – biases that impact women in agriculture and barriers that keep them from operating fully and efficiently.
He said the KIC imagines a gender-equal world, free of bias, discrimination, and stereotypes in that many young women do not venture into agriculture because it has not traditionally been associated with wealth and success for women.
He bemoaned that the negative cultural perceptions associated with women who choose agriculture as a career path have discouraged many women from exploring opportunities in this field.
Against this background, he said the KIC as a program recognizes these barriers and as an organization, it is committed to ensuring gender equality in the agriculture sector in Ghana through its programming with fifty per cent women target across all its programs and several initiatives targeted at young women to ‘break the bias’.