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Value Seeds is one of the companies benefiting from the Seeds for Impact program. Based in Nigeria, its employees are well aware of the many additional challenges faced by women in agriculture. To help it tackle these as well as possible, the company has developed a Gender Strategy.

«Optimum agricultural productivity requires gender equity and equality», says Value Seeds Limited’s President George Zangir. «To reach their highest potential, individuals and communities need equal opportunities. Our Gender Strategy is a tool for achieving reforms and increasing productivity by men and women all along the value chain.»

In the document’s introduction, Zangir explains that it is designed to improve programs and governance, challenge discriminatory norms and advance equality. «The strategy builds on their recent smallholder Initiatives», comments Laura Dominguez. Based in Uruguay, she joined the volunteering program for Syngenta company employees to support Seeds for Impact. She works closely with Value Seeds. «Our remarkable document was only possible with Laura’s help», acknowledges George Zangir. «She provided lots of insights into the nitty-gritty of gender issues in agriculture.» 

Sunil Hemdev runs our Foundation’s Seeds for Impact activities. He is impressed by Value Seeds’ initiative. «The company went to enormous efforts to create this strategy», Sunil declares. «They ran in-depth interviews and consultation with staff and partners around the world, commissioned an external gender analysis of documents, reviewed their personnel policies, and looked at dozens of examples from other organizations and donors.»

High on the list, and applicable everywhere

What Sunil finds «particularly laudable is that Value Seeds gave its Gender Strategy such high priority». Seeds for Impact is a capacity-building program. The first topic for all the participating companies was Business Strategy. Six of the initial seven then chose Marketing & Sales advice. Value Seeds was the only one that gave precedence to gender. «That’s what I call walking the talk», comments Sunil.

The Gender Strategy applies to operations at Value Seeds headquarters and the regional hubs, as well as to all its programs. «It will shape how we plan, design, implement and monitor our work», predicts George Zangir. «Used consistently and adapted as we learn from daily practice, the strategy helps us to make gender topics a basis for improving individual lives and advancing human development.»

Zangir is generous in his thanks to Laura Dominguez, Sunil Hemdev, and fellow partner AECF, the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund. But he also emphasizes the contributions of Value Seeds’ Finance Head George Kabutha and team. «Joyfully», Zangir says, «it’s a precious policy document for us and by us».

  • What do female Nigerian smallholders think of their jobs and standing? Do men get in the way? We ran a survey.
  • The Syngenta Foundation has a Diversity & Inclusion policy, and a network of D&I Champions. You’ll find them here.