MEDA and Global Affairs Canada (GAC) are working together to support women and youth-run businesses in the processing sector and food industry of Bauchi State, Nigeria. The project will work in three main value chains: rice, peanut, and soybean.
The Youth Entrepreneurship and Women’s Empowerment Project in Northern Nigeria aims to increase the contributions by entrepreneurs (ENs) and small-scale businesses (SSBs), particularly those run by women and youth, to support Nigeria’s economic growth.
WAY supports women and youth agroprocessors in three food value chains in Bauchi State: rice, soybean and peanuts.
Nigeria’s Bauchi state is located in the northeastern region of the country. Drier than the southern states, Bauchi is vulnerable to climate change and desertification. Although Nigeria is considered one of the wealthiest African nations, wealth is not evenly distributed, and the northern regions have higher unemployment and greater economic and gender inequality.
While the Federal Government of Nigeria is investing in agricultural development across its country, women producers in Bauchi state are particularly disadvantaged as gender and social norms limit their abilities to effect market linkages. This means they also lack credible market information and rely on social networks to learn about the marketplace. Women farmers experience other challenges such as time constraints due to family responsibilities, lower literacy levels, smaller business networks, and limited mobility. Women and girls also face the customs of early and forced child marriage due to poverty and the prevailing social norms of conservative society.
MEDA realized that the rice, soy, and peanut value chains offered opportunities and potential for business growth. These three value chains were chosen because they are accessible to women producers and processors, there is local market demand for products/by-products, and potential to partner producers with businesses that can deliver products or services and the high value/yields per hectare the crops provide. Other benefits include that are highly nutritious and can be used to combat food insecurity in a region facing climate change and political instability. Rice, peanuts and soy food crops that provide for both domestic consumption and processing for the market.
There are also opportunities to raise awareness of the risks of early and forced child marriage. This is achieved by working with families and communities to better understand the benefits of engaging women and youth in entrepreneurship though awareness campaigns, gendered discussions and community groups, employment and entrepreneurship skills building, the provision of safe spaces, and networking.
With increased access to productive technologies and business services, greater financial inclusion and inclusive community dialogs, Nigeria WAY supports women and youth-led businesses to transform their contributions to their households, communities, and the economy.
The WAY project supports small scale businesses and entrepreneurs by: