Empowering Rural Women Farmers: Boosting Vegetable Access for Better Nutrition

woman producer selling at market
Enhancing Productivity, Post-harvest Management, and Market Access of African Indigenous Vegetables in Kenya. Image credit: Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO).


Empowering Rural Women Farmers: Boosting Vegetable Access for Better Nutrition 

[DAVIS] – The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Horticulture is pleased to announce the launch of four regionally-led initiatives to be coordinated by the Horticulture Innovation Lab’s East Africa Regional Hub Managers, David S. Ameyaw, Peninah Yumbya, and Annesofie Misiani from the International Center for Evaluation and Development (ICED). “These projects will transform East Africa's horticulture sector,” says Yumbya.  “They will elevate the horticulture industry towards empowering small-scale farmers, especially women in the region. The focus on enhancing productivity, reducing postharvest losses, enhancing market access, and fostering innovations will undoubtedly contribute to sustainable horticultural production.”  

These 3.5-year projects focus on priorities that were identified during a 2022 regional stakeholder meeting. The first priority is to address pre- and post-harvest management to reduce food waste and losses in vegetables. The second priority is to improve the marketing of and access to vegetables in the East Africa region through the empowerment of rural smallholder women farmers growing vegetables on a small-scale level. Each project was specifically “designed to unlock access to vegetables for women smallholder farmers,” said Misiani. “This will be critical  in enhancing the important role women play - the majority of whom are underserved - in  addressing food insecurity and nutrition across Africa.” The four projects and their foci are as follows: 

Ameyaw noted that “the partnership with the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Horticulture,  through the generous funding of USAID, has been invaluable in bringing these projects to life.”  He also stated, “These globally supported, regionally-led projects reflect the shared  commitment to promote the East Africa horticulture sector, contributing to the transformation  of livelihoods for all small-scale farmers.”  

"These projects in East Africa get right to the heart of our mission," said Erin McGuire, Director of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Horticulture. "We're targeting key areas like smallholder women farmers' empowerment and reducing food waste. It's practical, focused, and I believe it will make a real difference in the region."

As we embark on this transformative journey, our vision extends beyond just the immediate projects. We envision a future where the tireless efforts of women smallholder farmers are acknowledged, where fresh vegetables are within everyone's reach, and where every household in East Africa enjoys improved nutrition and health. Together, with the combined expertise of our regional partners and the steadfast support of our global allies, we are planting seeds for a brighter, more nourishing tomorrow.

For more information about our Research Project Portfolio and collaboration opportunities,  please visit horticulture.ucdavis.edu or contact Associate Director Archie Jarman at rajarman@ucdavis.edu. 

farmers in field
Developing innovative horticulture technologies for small-scale women farmers in Uganda. Image credit: Muni University.
farmer harvesting vegetables
Determining the cost-benefit of integrating horticulture into staple crop production in Kenya. Image credit: International Center for Evaluation and Development.
producers packing produce into crates
Determining the trade-offs between short and long horticulture value chains in Kenya. Image credit: Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.

About Us 
Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Horticulture, also known as the Horticulture Innovation Lab,  is funded by the United States Agency for International Development as part of the Feed the  Future global hunger and food security initiative, based at the University of California, Davis, within the Department of Plant Sciences. With a focus on horticultural, social, and technological advancements, we develop groundbreaking solutions to improve nutrition and food security. As advocates for innovations and policies that promote gender equity, social and environmental responsibility, we are dedicated to improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers while empowering communities through horticulture, including better access to nutrition and healthy diets. 

For media inquiries, contact Communications Manager Heather Hayashi at hnhayashi@ucdavis.edu.

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