Skip to content Skip to footer

Kilimo Trust’s Recognition of Women’s Role in Agricultural Transformation in East Africa

As we come together to commemorate International Women’s Day, Kilimo Trust proudly acknowledges the unsung heroines fueling agricultural transformation across East Africa. Kilimo Trust recognizes their pivotal role, empowering them through targeted initiatives that break down longstanding barriers to participation. Despite constituting a significant portion of the agricultural workforce, women often receive disproportionately lower income from the proceeds of sale of produce. According to FAO, women make up about 50% of the workforce in agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa but receive 18.4% less income than men in the agriculture sector. Moreover, we recognize the importance of addressing gender disparities not only in labor but also in other key roles within the value chain. This includes ensuring representation of women as traders, processors and decision-makers.

To actively promote investing and counting on women, Kilimo Trust implements various initiatives aimed at empowering women in agriculture and agribusiness. For instance, our programs:

          i) Establish through our market and value chain studies where women are involved and determine the challenges they face as well as opportunities available to them.

          ii) Provide targeted support to women entrepreneurs and farmers.

          iii) Facilitate access to resources such as finance, training and market linkages.

Through these efforts, we strive to create an enabling environment where women can fully participate and benefit from agricultural transformation initiatives.

On this day, we celebrate their contributions, knowing that the path to a sustainable and equitable future must be paved with opportunities for all, irrespective of gender. We share stories of remarkable women who we have worked with across the East African region. These remarkable women, against all odds, stand as the driving force behind agribusiness transformation, embodying resilience, and determination.

                                                                     Justine Nayiga – Uganda’s Champion

Justine Nayiga serves as a village agent providing crucial extension services to farmers in Uganda. She recognized the needs and gaps within her community and embarked on a journey to proactively offer solutions.

Kilimo Trust under the Regional East Africa Community Trade in Staples – Phase II (REACTS-II) project, funded by AGRA was able to support Ms. Nayiga through:

          i) Training and continuous business mentorship such as financial literacy and entrepreneurship.

          ii) Equipping Nayiga with essential knowledge and skills such as grading and standards, safe use and handling of agrochemicals to expand her outreach as well as reduce harmful exposure.


 iii) Encouraging her to host input promotion events where she invited agro-chemical companies to sell their inputs to farmers.

Nayiga was able to continuously impact her community, and the outcomes of the support given to include:

          i) Generating a minimum of 140MT of maize each season.

          ii) Generating income of up to UGX 1 million from post-harvest handling services and UGX 350,000 from electric spray pumps services provided to farmers per season.

          iii) Establishing an input shop with her own savings of UGX 20 million generated from input promotion events.

          iv) Establishing a nursery school to provide education to children in her community through income generated from her sales-based commission.

          v) Training and mentoring over 46 village agents including upgrading some to master village agents.

          vi) Providing inputs to 32,000 farmers through inputs promotion events.

Nayiga believes that investing in women requires continuous training and mentorship given the unique social and cultural barriers they face.  If there are ongoing programs in the communities there will be more female village agent, and there would be more women involved in entrepreneurial ventures like agro-input shops as well as the provision of post-harvest handling services. She envisions a future where rural communities thrive through collective progress and empowerment.

                     Esther Muthee, the Operations Manager at Masaka Creamery Limited – Rwanda’s Champion

Esther Muthee serves as the Operations Manager at Masaka Creamery Limited in Rwanda. This company facilitates inclusive employment opportunities in agribusiness for women and youth, including those with disabilities. However, they faced challenges in upgrading the competency of youth and women with disabilities employed at the creamery and offering opportunities to others.

A tripartite collaboration between Kilimo Trust, the Integrated Polytechnic Regional College (IPRC) Musanze, and Masaka Creamery Limited under the Rural Youth Employment Support (R-YES) project funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) was established to:

 i) Empower and create inclusive employment opportunities in agribusiness for women and youth living with disabilities, most of which are less privileged persons in society.

          ii) For Esther, this collaboration was a dream come true. It is positively impacting the community as it has transformed the lives of young girls and women, bringing hope to their families for a better future through:

          ii) Empowering and employing over 40 youth with hearing impairment, many of whom are women. This has been achieved through experiential training in the factory for 3 months. The participating youth are issued with certificates or retained as permanent staff.

          iii) Improving personal growth and confidence among the employed youth with disabilities.

Esther advocates for more companies to be more open to inclusive employment opportunities, particularly investing inwomen and youth with disabilities. She believes that by embracing inclusivity, companies can harness the full potential of diverse talent and contribute to social economic transformation.

As we reflect on the remarkable stories of resilience, determination, and achievement shared on this International Women’s Day, it is clear that women are not just participants but driving forces in the agricultural and agribusiness sectors across the globe. The journey towards gender equality and inclusion is far from over. Let us break down barriers, challenge stereotypes, and create opportunities for women to thrive and succeed. Together, we can build a more sustainable, equitable future where every woman has the chance to fulfill her potential and contribute to the prosperity of her community and beyond.

                                        Irene Samoei, Chairlady-Cheptarit Stars Women Group – Kenya’s Champions

International women's day

IIrene Samoei serves as the chairlady of the Cheptarit Stars Women Group in Kenya, leading initiatives to transform livelihoods through agriculture and trade. Their activities involve cultivating and trading food crops especially maize and beans.

The Cheptarit Stars Women Group, established in 2006, faced numerous challenges, including:

          i) Inadequate market information and limited networking avenues.


          ii) Limited availability of financial resources.

          iii) High post-harvest losses, inadequate storage facilities and poor business skills.

          iv) Security concerns because they were largely informal and carried cash for trading transactions.

          v) Physical mobility and separation from family.

In 2018, Kilimo Trust under the Regional East Africa Community Trade in Staples – Phase II (REACTS-II) project, funded by AGRA, embarked on supporting Cheptarit Stars Women’s Group with the following:

          i) Providing training in business skills, good agricultural practices and good post-harvest handling practices.

          ii) Providing mentoring to all the women in the group.

          iii) Facilitating market linkages with cooperatives in Uganda and learning institutions through the consortium model.

These interventions by Kilimo Trust enabled the group to:

          i) Enhance the income generated as a group and were able to afford basic household items and support their children through school.

          ii) Increase their traded volumes from 125MTs of grains per year in 2017 to 1,450MTs in 2022.

          iii) Increase their bank overdraft from USD 3,000 to USD 40,000.

Irene believes that it is very important to invest in women in order to accelerate their participation in local economic development. She empowers women to do what she’s doing and appeals to financial institutions to recognize the impact women’s groups can make if they get affordable financial products. She emphasizes the importance of inclusive employment practices and community outreach, ensuring that everyone, regardless of age or background, has the opportunity to participate and contribute to the group’s success. Irene stresses the significance of passing down knowledge and values to younger generations, fostering continuity and inclusivity within Cheptarit Stars Women’s Group and the broader.

Cheptarit Women Group story:


                                                                    Happy International Women’s Day 2024!


Best Choice for Creatives
This Pop-up Is Included in the Theme
Purchase Now