Over 6,719 entrepreneurs (including 3,141 women) benefitted from skills improvement activities like finance and credit management, digital transaction, marketing of produce, improved seed business and cooperative management. These trained entrepreneurs were able to provide market opportunities to 363,556 (women 106,604 or 29%) using adapted business models. The increasing private sector partnerships and linkages is improving market access for more women entrepreneurs. In addition, 58 entrepreneurs (including 21 women) were linked to service providers in finance, business management in four countries including Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. The total output was to deliver 300 contracts made between agribusiness (entrepreneurs) and service providers by the end of the project, achieving 1,558 contracts to date. Increased business opportunities have prompted farmers to use ICT in the platforms, with at least 70% youth and women using ICT tools (e.g., 28,942 farmers including 16,114 women were using ICT technologies). The number of women linked to the ICT platform improved from 10% to 44% during the reporting period. A study to assess the level of satisfaction among 40 women and youth on inclusivity within the business platform showed that both men (26) and women (14) were fully satisfied (100%) with their platforms. In Uganda and Tanzania, assessments from a sample of 412 men and women indicated a 94% level of satisfaction among women and 100% among men. The small difference between the levels of satisfaction might have been due to that the fact more men possess cellphones than women.
PABRA member countries released 27 bean varieties during 2021, that are high-yielding, farmer preferred, and market demanded, eight of which have some additional traits such as high iron and zinc seed content and biofortified, and 19 with resistance to multiple diseases. About 10,296 ton of certified and Quality Declared Seed (QDS) were produced by private sector enterprises including the 35 new enterprises (22% women-led or owned) that were established to commercialize seed including beans. More efforts are required to enhance the efficiency and production capacity of these community or farm-based women-led or owned seed enterprises.