COTE D’IVOIRE – The UN Women has partnered with African Development Bank (AfDB) to launch a digital market platform in Cote d’Ivoire dubbed Blaatto, aimed to connect women farmers in the country to markets.

The platform is part of the UN agency’s Buy From Women initiative, targeting women smallholder farmers and members of women-led agricultural cooperatives in the country’s central region where access to markets is relatively poor.

Buy From Women is an open-source, cloud-based enterprise and e-commerce platform that can be customized to specific market products. It also offers women information and finance.

It aims to strengthen women’s agricultural resilience to climate change and quality of life by incorporating ICT into agricultural production.

Mr. Felix Anoblé, Minister for the Promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises, Handcrafts and Informal Sector Transformation of Cote d’Ivoire said, “The Buy From Women platform will ensure long term results for beneficiaries.”

He urged its adoption, saying, “Please take the opportunity to use it and uplift locally produced crops.”

The initiative has also received financial support from the Bank-managed Korea Africa Economic Cooperation Trust Fund.

“The Buy From Women platform will connect women producers to all categories of buyers of agricultural products: wholesalers, retailers and consumers across Cote d’Ivoire.

“It is an opportunity for women farmers to sell their products to a large market of buyers,” said Mrs. Antonia Ngabala Sodonon, UN Women’s country representative for Cote d’Ivoire.

Ms Esther Dassanou, Coordinator of the African Development Bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa noted that, “This platform will serve as a one-stop shop for producers, buyers, sellers and investors.

“Not only will it help women farmers gain access to markets but will also elevate their expertise and improve the quality of their farming products.”

Platforms aimed to connect small-holder farmers to markets have recently emerged especially in the West Africa region such as Freshbag, an innovative digital platform in Cameroon.

In Nigeria, Pricepally aggregates consumers food demand in urban cities and matches them with supplies directly from farmers and wholesalers.

Shifting focus to Kenya’s livestock sector, KCB Foundation has partnered with United States Agency for International Development to mobilize up to Kshs100 million (US$860,000) in financing for livestock farmers in Kenya’s Arid and Semi-arid lands.

Undertaken through USAID’s Kenya Investment mechanism, the farmers are set to receive training that will equip them with climate-smart agricultural practices to mitigate the dire impacts of climate change.

Under the two-year partnership, at least 50 livestock cooperatives and farmers’ groups will receive technical support to increase their productivity.

The first year of the partnership will see KCB train bank staff on livestock financing which is expected to grow to Kshs 500 million (US$4.3m).

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