The importance of women to agriculture is well documented. In Ghana, there is a stockpile of academic and media articles consistently pointing to the need for more practical support for them.

In a recent submission, Dr Heather Cameron, the Canadian High Commissioner to Ghana, added her voice to calls for improved support for women when she said women contribute 60 per cent to the growth of agriculture in Ghana and, therefore, deserved equal opportunities as men in the sector.
She said men were given many opportunities in the agriculture to the disadvantage of women, despite their enormous contribution towards socio-economic development.

Speaking at a recent conference organised by the Canadian High Commission, in collaboration with Agence Francaise de Development on the theme: “Gender Equality through Agriculture in Ghana”, She spoke effusively about her country’s commitment to partnering Ghana to promote employment and increase productivity to enhance economic growth.

Dr Cameron said Canada was willing to help Ghana to modernise its agriculture and strengthen the value chain of food security. “Our development firms are helping Ghana to export food crops including cocoa to Canada,” she said.

The rather gloomy narrative of women engaged in agriculture is sadly one that reverberates across the continent of Africa. This is reflected in a riveting study by the World Bank group dubbed “Breaking the ‘Grass Ceiling’: Empowering Women Farmers”

According to the 2018 study, Women must be at the centre of any effort to promote sustainable agriculture, reduce hunger and improve rural livelihoods. This is because despite the fact that Women make up almost half of the agricultural labour force in developing countries, their production is limited by barriers to finance, inputs, extension services and land rights.
The introductory part of the study read “Agricultural skills, knowledge and encouragement should be taught to daughters from a young age to help change antiquated social structures and cultural norms.

New technologies and training are critical for women farmers to be able to build resilience in the face of climate change. Around the world, 815 million people suffer from hunger. That number could be significantly reduced if women farmers had the same rights and resources as their male counterparts, and were empowered to contribute fully to the food system.
Women are central to agriculture and make a strong contribution to food security and nutrition at both the household and community levels. In many developing countries, they make up almost half of the agricultural labour force, but their production is limited by barriers to finance, inputs, and extension services, as well as land ownership and rights.”

On the level of commitment from stakeholders on the continent, the report called on all to support women to ensure that women are further equipped to make incredible gains.

“As the world works towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, which pledges to “leave no one behind,” how can we ensure that women farmers – often one of the most marginalized groups – are truly prioritized and not left behind? To mark International Women’s Day, we asked female farmers, researchers and entrepreneurs from around the world for their ideas on how best to empower women and close the gender gap in agriculture.”

Overcoming Social and Cultural Barriers

“For so long, women have been neglected when it comes to all forms of support: functional literacy, financial, knowledge and technology,” says Professor Ruth Oniang’o, founder and leader of the Rural Outreach Programme, editor-in-chief of the Africa Journal of Food, Nutrition and Development, and one of the winners of the 2017 Africa Food Prize. “We should move away from rhetoric and truly involve women in all facets of development.”
Katrina Sasse, an Australian cereal farmer and 2017 Nuffield Australia Scholar adds that “structural and cultural issues within agriculture must change for the gender gap to close.”

For generations, antiquated norms have dictated the social structure of rural communities. Women farmers are often relegated to unpaid farm work and household tasks while men receive training, resources and land. Sasse explains that “the tradition of passing a farm down to a son means males continue to have greater influence and power within agriculture.” But social structures can be changed. “To break this pattern of family farm succession,” says Sasse, “parents need to be doing more to encourage their daughters to take over the farm. It is not enough to just say, ‘you can farm if you want to.’ It is really important that skills and knowledge be transferred and taught to daughters from a young age. When it becomes normal for a young woman to say: ‘I will take over the family farm one day,’ that is when we can start to celebrate the closing of the gender gap in agriculture.”

Preparing for the Future through Training and Technology

Access to modern, labour-saving technologies is also critical for women in agriculture. Esther Ngumbi, a post-doctoral researcher at Auburn University and founder of Oyeska Greens, an agricultural start-up in Kenya, notes that “game-changing technologies are already available” and need to be provided to women farmers – especially now, as they face the threat of climate change.
“The rapidly changing climate is making it very hard for women to make agriculture work,” says Ngumbi. “The rains are not raining when they are supposed to. The temperatures are extremely high. However, newer agricultural innovations are also being rolled out every day. We can help women farmers by making sure they have access to these game-changing innovations so that they can farm and make agriculture work.” And with new tools and technologies comes a need for training and education. Ngumbi advocates for extension services and affordable, government-sponsored programs to train women in agriculture. “Agricultural extension has to be ramped up to ensure that women farmers know what these technologies are and that they know how to use them,” she says. “We have to take it to the grassroots levels and meet women farmers where they are.”

Entrepreneur Mercy Melody Kayodi agrees. “The information age we are in is precisely what we need. The majority of women farmers are willing to go commercial, but need to be informed on how best they can achieve and earn more from farming.” As Director of Education and Programs at Broadfield Enterprises Uganda, Kayodi establishes training sessions for in permaculture, and believes that “more funding in technology, innovation, and education” is critical for helping women farmers.

Training and education can provide a lasting foundation for better farms and livelihoods, according to Professor Oniang’o. “Smallholder women farmers do not need hand-outs, and they do not want favours,” Oniang’o says. “They need long-term relevant training. With the right support, women can rid Africa of hunger, malnutrition and poverty.”

Financing Women in Agriculture

A successful, third-generation poultry farmer in Jamaica, Shelly-Ann Dinnall has overcome multiple obstacles in her career. After Hurricane Sandy destroyed part of her farm in 2012, she was able to recover and ultimately expand her farm, thanks to good relationships with her bankers. But many women farmers are not as lucky.

Shelly-Ann Dinnall says that when it comes to finance, “women farmers are at a disadvantage because they often don’t have the resources to satisfy the stringent banking requirements.” Without better access to suitable financial services, including credit, savings and insurance, women in agriculture will continue to lag behind. Microfinance institutions and other financial service providers with a presence in rural areas can play a key role in closing the gender gap by allocating resources specifically to women farmers and targeting gender-based barriers.

“Women are the backbone of most developing countries and it is beneficial to a country’s economy to empower women in agriculture,” says Dinnall. “Financial institutions are very important to this movement. They can create special programs that will encourage existing female farmers and target potential female farmers to invest in the agriculture sector.”
And these female farmers are the future. They are at the frontlines of climate change and they are advocates for nutrition. They are connecting and communicating through mobile phones, social networks and community groups. In certain areas of the world, they are taking over farms completely, as young men migrate to urban areas.

In her work as a Nuffield Scholar, Sasse has had the opportunity to meet and interview countless women farmers. “Many of the women I met were so motivated and passionate about farming and the agricultural industry that they found themselves wearing an array of hats – the farmer, the industry leader and community champion,” she says. “Some had off-farm careers as well as managing their own farm and at some stage, balancing all of this plus raising children. The agricultural sector needs to be ready for women to achieve all of those things simultaneously.”

The Ghana effort

In Ghana, the role of women cannot be underestimated as they constitute more than half the agricultural labour force. This obvious significance of women to the sector has seen the government and other stakeholders work assiduously to advance the cause of women.

The creation of Women in Agriculture (WIAD) directorate at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFAD) has created a practical outlet for government to channel resources that will specifically meet the needs of women.

Similarly, collaboration between local NGOs and development partners have recently emerged as a frontier in renewed efforts to speedily advance the cause of women in agriculture.

At Agrihouse Foundation, our initiatives such as the Women in Food and Agricultural Leadership Forum and Expo (WOFAGRIC), Gold in the Soil Awards,  Agric Students Career Guidance and Mentorship Dialogue Bootcamp (AG-STUD AFRICA), the Annual Pre-harvest Agribusiness Exhibitions and Conference, among others, is in no uncertain terms, contributing its quota in making a huge social impact, developing and shaping their agribusiness mindset to becoming leaders in their business space, efficiently managing their production and processing cycles and supporting them to build diverse market access and links.

While the budding progress of the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative is proof of the vital role women play in agriculture, it also crucial that we collectively work hard to ensure that the plight of women in agriculture is improved to reflect a positive narrative.


Source Credit: A significant part of this piece was obtained from a recent World Bank Group publication dated March 6, 2018.




Being in its second year, The Agric students career and mentorship dialogue presents an opportunity to gain good knowledge and experience the worth of Agriculture in a more dynamic, exciting, engaging, competitive and fruitful environment.

AG-STUD Africa is a platform designed by Agrihouse Foundation to support in leading the charge for youth agric reawakening. Aside creating an avenue for agric students’ socialization, the event is an excellent avenue through which the agenda bordering on the importance of active youth participation in agric is set.

The program  seeks to  develop youth and students  leadership, discuss the challenges and opportunities in the corporate world of agribusiness, the value chain system, farm management skills for beginning farmers or agriculturist and additionally encourage them to apply those abilities in their organizations.

The maiden edition of this program was held last year at the M-Plaza Hotel under the theme “Growing Futures”. The event was well attended by about 300 representatives from various Agricultural Colleges in Ghana, selected tertiary institutions and some second cycle institutions in the Country, including Landmark University in Nigeria.

It was a three (3) day boot camp with the emphasis on mentorship, training, educational field tours and business pitching session with the view of equipping the Agric students to take advantage of the various opportunities the agricultural ecosystem presents. On the final day of the event, students had the opportunity to be hosted by the former president, Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings at a “Presidential student’s dinner and awards night”.


This year’s boot camp, themed “Growing Futures, Enabling the Agri-Youth”, seeks to support and enable the beginner agriprinuers walk through the process of understanding, appreciating, Initiating, innovating, preparing to lead and or seeking guidance in establishing a sustainable and profitable Agribusiness.


The program employs agric conversations, mentorship sessions, educational training sessions, business tools and ideas presentations, field demonstrations and professional speakers in a structured setting that includes on-site experiences and tours of companies and farms.

The maiden edition of AG-STUD Africa, extremely motivated students and helped students to gain practical and better understanding to starting agribusiness, it provided job and internship opportunities for some students and the mentors were highly impressed. This has kept all of the participants in anticipation for the second edition.  

AG-STUD Africa 2019, seeks to leverage on the successes achieved from the maiden boot camp and close the gap identified in funding the Agribusiness ideas to be presented by the participating students through a pitching challenge.

To achieve the above stated objective, Industry players in the Agricultural ecosystem in Ghana, have been invited to play active roles in this year’s boot camp. These industry players will focus on bridging the gap between Academics and Industry. In doing this, it is expected that, they would take up the initiative of funding some of the outstanding business plan ideas that will be pitched by the Students.

Notable persons to engage students through this year’s event include,

–          Danquah Addo Yobo (YARA)

–          Davies Narh Korboe

–          Nana Oboadie

–          Sheila Assibey Yeboah (Hortifresh)

–           Charles Atia (Dream Consult)

  • Career Opportunities in the Agriculture Sector (A New Agric graduate, where do I start from?)




Ekow Mensah (I-Concept)
  • Using Social Media to advance Agribusiness (advertising and marketing)

Sylvia Nyante (ADB) head of agribusiness finance

Frederick Odame Phillips (KOSMOS) programs manager

  • Assessing finance for Agribusiness Start-ups


Iyad Hatoum

Nora Gao

  • Failure is Success
Nanga Kaye (WFP)
  • What Agric industry players expect from new graduates
Williams Kottey (RMG)
  • The disease to please
Gideon Konortey
  • Goat Masters
  • Irrigation
  • Soil testing van
  • Drones
  •  Social Impact Technology
  • Solar Drier


Also in this year’s edition, participants would enjoy the opportunity to be hosted at a “presidential student’s dinner and awards night” hosted by the former President of the republic of Ghana H.E. John Agyekum Kuffour to climax the event.

It is again expected that, this boot camp will provide students the opportunity to pick up internship and job opportunities from Industry players and even attract investors to promote agribusiness startups.

AGSTUD AFRICA 2019 promises to be more exciting, engaging and help students to understand, initiate and prepare to be led through guidance in establishing a sustainable and profitable Agribusiness.

Agrihouse Foundation therefore invites you on Thursday 21st of February to Saturday 23rd of February 2019, at the GNAT Hall (Nungua Estate), to join us in leading the charge for youth agric reawakening.




The second edition of the Agricultural Students Career Guidance and Mentorship Dialogue Boot Camp (AG-STUD Africa 2019) is scheduled to come off on Thursday February 21, 2019 – Saturday, February 23, 2019.

Under the theme, “Growing Futures: Enabling the Agri Youth”, the three (3) day event is aimed at developing the expertise of agric students and beginner agribusinesses by appraising them with the constant changes identified in the sector including marketing, processing, branding, input, finance, equipment, technology, land tenure among others through education and leadership programmes. In addition, the event will be an avenue through which the agenda bordering on the importance of active youth participation in agriculture will be set. It also seeks to develop youth and students leadership, discuss the challenges and opportunities in the world of business, the value chain system, and farm management skills in beginner farmers as well as encouraging them to apply those abilities in their community organizations.

The event will also involve mentorship and educational sessions, employing business tools and professional speakers in a structured setting that will include on-site tours of companies and farms.

Among activities and topics to be dealt with this year are discussions on challenges facing agric students in Africa today and how they can be solved; developing a winnable agric business plan; first-hand experience of some agricultural success case sites in a tour, exhibitions etc.

According to Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa, Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, a non-governmental agricultural social impact, mentorship, capacity building, innovation and project management organization who are the Organizers of the event in partnership with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, this year’s edition is a major improvement on the previous edition and is poised to equip participants with enough knowledge and skill in practicing in their chosen area. “We will be deeply engaged in a series of Agri conversations, dialogues, career and mentorship discussions, capacity building programmes, business talks, field tours and demonstrations. All these programmes  will support and enable the beginner agriprinuer’s walk through the process of understanding, initiating, innovating, and taking leadership roles to prepare them for the ever growing job market”. She said.  “AG-STUD AFRICA is here to shape and guide the agribusiness sector, change perceptions and possibly transform lives of our students in agric, opening them up to numerous opportunities in this new and vibrant world of business Agriculture”. She concluded.

AG-STUD 2019 is expected to camp, train and mentor about 350 selected participants from about 25 institutions including  KNUST, UDS, University of Ghana, University of Cape-coast, Kwadaso Agric College, Damongo Agric College, Fair River Institute, Animal Health, AsuanzI Farm Institute, Ejura Agric College, Adidome Agric College, KITA, selected Senior High School students, beginner agribusinesses and small agribusiness start-ups across the country.  The event  will be facilitated by individual experts from the agricultural sector, as well as other relevant sectors such as the military.

The first edition saw some 320 participants selected from 20 institutions in Ghana attending and was graced by high profile personalities including H.E former President J.J Rawlings.