Women farmers in Cote d’Ivoire will more easily find markets for their crops, thanks to a digital platform recently launched by UN Women. Blaatto, part of the UN agency’s Buy From Women initiative, is targeting women smallholder farmers and members of women-led agricultural cooperatives in the country’s central region where access to markets is relatively poor. The word ‘blaatto’ means ‘come and buy’ in the region’s Baule language.
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. In Cote d’Ivoire, UN Women is rolling out the initiative with African Development Bank support and with funding from the Bank-managed Korea Africa Economic Cooperation Trust Fund.
The platform is part of a UN Women project in Cote d’Ivoire to strengthen women’s agricultural resilience to climate change and quality of life by incorporating ICT into agricultural production. Blaatto launched during a ceremony held on 25 March 2022 in Abidjan, attended by Mr. Felix Anoblé, Minister for the Promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises, Handcrafts and Informal Sector Transformation of Cote d’Ivoire. Mrs. Antonia Ngabala Sodonon, UN Women’s country representative for Cote d’Ivoire and Ms Esther Dassanou, Coordinator of the African Development Bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa initiative also participated.
Before an audience of government representatives, development partners and women farmers, Anoblé and Sodonon signed an agreement for the management of Buy From Women. Minister Anoblé 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.” Sodonon said, “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.”
Esther Dassanou said: “We appreciate the support from the Government of Cote d’Ivoire in various interventions, especially in women’s economic empowerment. For the African Development Bank, UN Women is a strategic partner to implement the gender equality and women’s empowerment agenda.” She added, “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.”
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