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Grace Fosen Talks About Her Journey in the Agriculture Sector.

Who is Grace Fosen?


Grace Fosen

Grace Fosen is a seasoned development professional with a wealth of expertise in establishing sustainable access to finance, fostering women and youth economic empowerment, and optimizing agribusiness systems. With over two decades of experience, she has been involved in impactful projects affiliated with renowned organizations such as FAO, UNDP, USAID, and IFAD. Presently, she holds the esteemed position of Country Project Manager at Mennonite Economic Development Associates: a Canadian International development organization. Her role focuses on devising business solutions to address poverty, particularly in Nigeria, where she works diligently to strengthen women and youth-led enterprises within the rice, soy, and groundnut agricultural value chains.

Questions and Answers with Grace Fosen on Let’s Talk Agriculture

Q: Can you tell us about your journey into the agricultural industry and what inspired you to pursue a career in this field?

Ans: My Passion for Agriculture: A Personal Journey I am grateful for your question, as it gives me the opportunity to reflect on my journey. From a young age, I discovered my love for the soil, gardening, and nurturing plants to grow. I remember how devastated I would feel when my siblings would pull out what I had planted just to get back at me.

While in university, my concern for people’s well- being initially pushed me towards the medical field. However, I eventually found my way back to my roots, studying agricultural economics. I am now a proud farmer and thoroughly enjoy working with other farmers as an extension officer. At the start of my career, I provided capacity building and advisory services through the Special Program for Food Security. Later on, I joined UNDP’s Millennium Villages Project, where we supported farmer education and training on the best agronomic practices. Now, at MEDA, we continue to provide technical assistance, technology upgrades, and other services to entrepreneurs in the agricultural food systems space.

Country Project Manager MEDA Nigeria, Ms Grace Fosen receiving an award of excellence. Photo: Murtala Muhammad

Q: What are some of the challenges you have faced as a woman in the agricultural industry, and how have you overcome them?

Ans: The male counterparts are preferred when it comes to engagement etc. As much as we talk about gender equality, there is clear male gender preference when it comes to decision making. I commit to excellence in service delivery and that has helped me stand out and make impact in the work I do.

Q: In your opinion, what are the key factors contributing to your success in the agricultural industry, and how have these factors influenced your career?

Ans: My success in the industry can be attributed to my perseverance, focus, and determination to succeed.

Q: How do you balance the demands of work in the agricultural industry with your personal life? What strategies have you found effective in maintaining that balance?

Ans: Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Balance: Tips for Leaving Work at Work. Leaving work behind after you exit the office is crucial in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. When you retire, family is often the only thing you have left, so it’s important to prioritize them now. Show your loved ones that you value them by intentionally creating quality family time. Try not to bring work home, although sometimes it’s unavoidable!

Q: What are some of the significant trends or changes you have observed in the agricultural industry, especially regarding the role of women?

Ans: Dr. Dorathy and Dr. Kalibata are just a few examples of women who are breaking barriers in agriculture. This trend extends to rural communities, where women are increasingly taking on leadership roles in agriculture production and value chain alliances. It’s amazing how much progress has been made in just a few years.

Q: What advice would you give to young women interested in pursuing a career in the agricultural industry?

Ans: Chase Your Aspirations and Overcome Obstacles Never give up on your dreams, even when faced with hurdles. Keep pushing and aim for excellence in everything you do – there are no limits to what you can achieve. Believe in yourself and take pride in your accomplishments, even if no one else does.

Q: How do you engage with and support your local community through your agricultural work? Are there any initiatives or projects you are involved in?

Ans: Supporting Local Communities through Innovative Value Chain Production and Sustainable Agricultural Practices. Our organization engages with local communities to help them gain knowledge and technical assistance on sustainable agricultural practices. Through this, we build their capacity on value chain production, support market linkages, and facilitate alliances amongst actors. In addition, we provide a platform for local communities to share knowledge, that they may not have had access to before.

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