Agrihouse Foundation is set to officially open the 3rd Women in Food and Leadership Training Forum (WOFAGRIC), and Gold in the Soil Awards, tomorrow, in Bolgatana, in the Upper East Region.
The two-day event, which is on the theme, “Surviving, Thriving and Making Waves beyond the Pandemic,” is scheduled to come off on Wednesday 23rd and Thursday 24th June, and is in partnership with Canadian High Commission, ABSA Ghana and YARA, INTERPLAST, OCP AFRICA, PEG AFRICA, LUMINANT ELECTRICALS AND RDF GHANA.
Collaborating Institution include, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Women in Agriculture Development (WIAD) and the National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners Association (NFFAWAG).
This year, the event will explore ways to enhance women’s resilience and recovery from the effects of the pandemic, while enabling women in agribusiness to develop, improve and sustain new agricultural practices, as well as develop their business within this pandemic era and beyond.
The event, on the second day, will further award deserving small-scale women farmer who are thriving exceptionally with Gold in the Soil Awards. The awards, listed under fifteen categories include: Super Woman Farmer Award, She-Innovates Award, Climate-Smart Women Project Award, The Change Champion Award, Lady of The Region Export Award, Development Partner Award, Princess Carla Award, She-Operates Award, Outstanding Woman in Extension Services Award, Star Woman Agripreneur Award (Woman Agripreneur Award), Royal Agro Award, Diamond in the Rough Award, Feed to Food Awards – (Poultry, Livestock & Fisheries) and the ultimate, Gold in the Soil Award.
This year, the Gold in the Soil Awards, received 131 nominations from both Upper East and Upper West Region. Out of the 45 women shortlisted, 15 women will be recognized and awarded, in the 15 categories. The rest of the agri-women will receive consolation prizes ranging from fertilizer knapsacks to irrigation materials and pumps.
According to the Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, Ms. Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa, this year was the first time Agrihouse opened up nominations in such a way, to allow more women from culturally diverse backgrounds an opportunity to participate in the awards scheme.
She said that, at the end of the nominations, the Foundation was very excited with the balanced women Farmers and Agribusiness value chain representation it observed.
“50% of the entries received, are from women farmers, farming between 10-65 acres of maize, yam, groundnut, soya beans, vegetables, Bambara beans, millet and sorghum. 32% of the women are largely into Processing, Packaging and marketing of Shea, Neem, Moringa, Boabab, Dawada, groundnut, oils, etc. 15% are into distribution and marketing of Input (seeds, fertilizers, etc) and about 3% of these women are into Tractor and Equipment operating and hiring,” she highlighted.
The Foundation, she said, also noted that majority of the women farmers who submitted entries are between ages 25-65years, “This for us is a positive signal. It is great to know we have very young women in the Upper East and West Regions, who are taking Agric seriously and contributing to enhancing nutrition and changing livelihoods,” she revealed, adding that all the entries received are from women, who have been operating their businesses within a period of 2 to 40years.
For her part, the Deputy Director – Development, of the Canadian Embassy, Ms. Stephanie Brunet, said, “The theme for this year’s event could not be more appropriate in view of the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the agricultural value chains, particularly for women farmers.
She said since 2017, Canada has been providing support to the Government of Ghana to improve its agriculture sector through an initiative called Modernizing Agriculture in Ghana (MAG). Through MAG, Canada has made available 125 million Canadian dollars of assistance directly to the Government of Ghana to help modernize the sector.
“That is why Canada is also proud to have supported the Women in Food and Agriculture Leadership Training and the Gold in the Soil Award in 2019 and 2020, and we look forward to working together on this year’s event. We strongly believe that women are critical to the sustainability of Ghana’s agriculture and that successful women farmers deserved to be recognized for their achievement and contributions to the nation.” She ended.
Impacts of WOFAGRIC and Gold in the soil Awards
Since inception three years (3) ago, WOFAGRIC and Gold in the soil awards has impacted the lives and businesses of women in the agri-business space. So far 25% of women participants who were not into Agribusiness as at the time they attended the event, have now ventured into agribusiness. Similarly, about 900 women who were groomed to take up leadership roles have had their capacity built up to push for growth and expansion at the grassroots.
In 2019, almost a quarter of the nominees for the Gold in the Soil Awards made entries into the National Best Farmers Award Scheme at district, regional and national levels with about 7 of them winning laurels at the district and regional levels whilst 2 of them picked up awards at the National awards.
The training offered on proper management and book keeping have proven impactful. A follow up evaluation carried out 3 months after each event reveals that, past participants have been able to access loan facilities to support their farms and businesses. Furthermore, information and guidance provided by the Netherlands embassy and the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) equipped some of the women farmers on the standard procedures, best practices and how to go documentations to export their produce. This has helped about 13 women to start the process to go into exportation.
The two (2)-day event will unfold under two (2) main segments thus:
- Women in Food and Agricultural Leadership Training and Capacity Building Session:
This full day session will deploy different learning approaches including opinion sharing, focused group discussions, dialogues, panel discussions, mentoring and demonstrations, to Train and build capacity of women Farmers and Agribusinesses.
Resource persons from various institutions, will be training our women on various topics, right from Production, Management and Marketing
The full day session, aims at providing a platform to exchange best practices and share valuable lessons learnt in handling and scaling up the Women in Agribusiness sector.
- The Gold in the Soil Awards:
Day Two (2) of the event, is the Gold in the Soil Awards. The awards sessions aim at recognizing and rewarding outstanding women in Agriculture. A documentary on activities and impact of these women will be produced and broadcasted on various platforms, to inspire and motivate other women who want to venture into Agribusiness. The 131 entries received, has been shortlisted to 45.