Cassava, and many other subsistence crops have gained the – sometimes, pejorative – nickname: ‘women’s crop’ – a term that highlights the primacy and involvement of women across the cassava value chain from production, processing, distribution, and sales.
The implication of this is that more small-holder farmers and agribusiness companies are empowered, thousands of small-scale entrepreneurs engaged as part of the agribusiness supply chain, and private capital is put to work to drive inclusive economic development.
Thus, investing in cassava production in Africa, as Psaltry International did in 2005, directly impacts women in the cassava value chain including female small-holder farmers who grow the crop. Psaltry, a Nigeria-based cassava processing company founded by Oluyemisi Iranloye, has innovated with cassava by creating several products including sorbitol, making it the only sorbitol manufacturer in Africa and the only company in the world to produce from cassava.
In the same vein, CHIKA’S Food has relentless pursued its mission of women’s empowerment through economic productivity and education. The company commits 2% of its global profits to the education of girls in West Africa through the Snacks4Change initiative in partnership with World Vision; and its target workforce will be composed of 50 - 70% women.
Alitheia IDF’s (AIF) proactive investment in agribusiness companies like Psaltry, ReelFruit, Ivili Loboya, and CHIKA’S Food reflects our prioritisation of the sector due to the active abundance of women throughout the value chain – from the farm to the factory floor and c-suite – and the sector’s strategic place in economic growth: over 60% of sub-Saharan Africa’s population, more than half of whom are women, are engaged in agriculture. And economic growth from agriculture is estimated to be 11 times more effective at reducing poverty than any other sector, suggesting that investing in agriculture and women is both a socioeconomic imperative and an opportunity.