The five-year partnership falls under the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP) established by the US White House last year, which seeks to reach 50 million women in the developing world by 2025 by scaling private-public partnerships.
PepsiCo and USAID will each invest an initial $5m to jumpstart the programme to support women-owned small- and medium-enterprises – along with women-led PepsiCo suppliers – in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.
“We expect that by engaging women as critical partners, on-farm productivity will increase, compliance with our sustainability standards will improve, supply chain performance will be strengthened, and we will contribute to the long-term resilience of farming communities and PepsiCo’s success,” said Christine Daugherty, VP, Global Sustainable Agriculture & Responsible Sourcing, PepsiCo.
“After all, we know that women make up nearly half of the agricultural workforce and by investing in women, we can have a greater impact.”
The power of women
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), if women farmers had the same access to resources as their male counterparts, their food production would increase by 30% and help eliminate hunger for 150 million people.
However, women face barriers such as a lack of land rights, limited access to information, technology, and financing, as well as domestic work expectations.
“At USAID, we believe that investing in women is key to advancing a country along its journey to self-reliance. The full economic inclusion of half the world’s population ultimately will contribute to greater peace and prosperity for all,” said USAID acting administrator John Barsa.
He added the work would not be possible without collaborating with the private sector.
“Through the W-GDP Fund, our partnership with PepsiCo will promote economic opportunities and leadership roles for women farmers.”
The partnership builds on PepsiCo and USAID’s recent project in West Bengal, India, which helps women lease land and provides training on topics such as record keeping, crop rotation techniques and pest control. It also addresses the cultural norms that hold back women in agriculture.
The West Bengal programme is expected to reach more than 300,000 women through direct and community engagement.