Multi-Donor Fund Mobilizes Investments that Empower Women in Agriculture

Date Published
October 11, 2022

By breaking down gender barriers for women, more food can be produced to feed more people. Photo credit: ADB.

A new multi-donor impact fund will support initiatives that empower women as decision makers and leaders across the agrifood value chain in Asia.

Grow Asia spearheads the $1.6-million fund, which was launched in August. It is a multi-stakeholder platform established in 2015 by the World Economic Forum and the ASEAN Secretariat to build partnerships for more inclusive, resilient, and sustainable food systems.

Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Corteva Agriscience, a publicly traded agricultural company in the United States, have each invested $800,000 in the fund. The objective is to raise $5.6 million through the impact fund over the next 3 years, using a blend of public and private investments to drive more gender-inclusive practices in the food and agriculture sector, especially in small rural enterprises.

Breaking down barriers

In a news release, Grow Asia said up to a third of women in Asia are engaged in agriculture, yet they face more barriers to finance, land, training, and inputs relative to men. Research shows that empowering women in agriculture drives equitable economic growth, injects more cash into rural economies, and increases investments in climate-smart solutions and services that are essential for long-term resilience.

A report from the Asian Development Bank shows that “equality of treatment between women and men and food security are mutually supportive.” By breaking down gender barriers for women, more food can be produced to feed more people.

Grow Asia has designed a comprehensive suite of programs that will leverage the expertise of all parties and build on previous work in Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, and Viet Nam, which was funded by the Australian Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Grow Asia said it will launch three complementary multi-donor impact funds to support parallel activities that promote agri-food innovation, responsible agricultural investing, and climate change adaptation and resilience in the region between now and October.

Other initiatives

Ongoing programs are:

  • AGREE (ASEAN Green Recovery through Equity and Empowerment) is supported by the International Development Research Centre in Cambodia, the Philippines, and Viet Nam. It demonstrates how COVID-19 recovery can be gender- and climate-responsive. It is mapping gender-inclusive practices in agriculture value chains, testing pilot interventions with corporate partners, and informing policy that champions women as agents of climate action.
  • GrowHer is a community-based platform that connects women to learning events, essential resources, and best-practice sharing from other women agripreneurs. The platform was launched by Grow Asia alongside Philippine social enterprise AGREA, Corteva Agriscience, and volunteer-led association WOMAG in Singapore.
  • THRIVE (Train Her to Promote Resilient, Inclusive Value Chains and Economic Empowerment) is an initiative of Grow Asia and Corteva Agriscience in 2021 to increase women farmers’ farm management, digital, and business skills as well as support women farmers, influencers, and agripreneurs with business development and networking opportunities.

Grow Asia said it engages more than 600 partner organizations and reaches close to 2.5 million smallholder farmers through its network.