Agriculture has a central socioeconomic position in Ghana. This sector accounts for about 65 percent of the work force, about 40 percent of the gross domestic product, and about 40 percent of foreign currencies acquired through exports. Although agriculture is a key part of the country’s economy, the structure of the sector is vulnerable because it relies on rain- fed agriculture during a roughly six-month rainy season.

Droughts and other types of unseasonable weather pose risks for farmers. Under these conditions, irrigation development offers the promise of greater food security and the rural-area development by ensuring yearlong agricultural production.
Despite considerable potential for development and the emphasis placed on irrigation development in many plans, less than two percent of the total cultivatable area in Ghana is irrigated. Moreover, even within this small area, researchers lack a clear understanding of where in Ghana different types of irrigation infrastructure are used and to what effect.

 Less than a third of the estimated total irrigated land in Ghana lies within 22 well-known public schemes, and not enough is known of the location, development and management of the informal irrigation schemes that account for the remaining two-thirds of total irrigated land. Although donors and policymakers express interest in providing new funds for irrigation development, the lack of reliable data on where irrigation currently exists, trends in its development, and opportunities and constraints within formal and informal schemes undermines consensus about how to build on what already exists in the sector.

With rhetoric’s for a Ghana beyond aid gaining momentum, the agricultural sector must lead the way in achieving this national goal, as agriculture employs more than 50 percent of the total economically active population.

Cultivable land is still abundant as only 38.9 percent of total agricultural land area is currently cultivated. Yet productivity of existing farmland is generally low and uncertain, because of prevailing traditional low-input, shifting-cultivation farming systems and dependence on rainfall.

According to FAO, Ghana is endowed with sufficient water resources for irrigation-based intensification. Estimates of Ghana’s irrigation potential are wildly divergent, ranging from 0.36-1.9 million hectares to slightly more than 33,000 ha under irrigated cultivation.

Despite irrigation’s considerable potential and the emphasis placed on it in recent plans, the proportion of potential irrigable land actually under irrigation is insignificant. In addition, the performance and productivity of existing irrigation schemes, particularly those that were publicly developed, are generally low.

Governments Renewed Commitment

For Ghana, the need to take irrigation farming a notch high is long overdue. A simple technique like harvesting and accumulation   of rainwater for reuse by farmers is one that we have to quickly put in place for our hard working farmers to take advantage of. Ethiopia, Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, have already led the way in similar innovative techniques that we can borrow a leaf from in developing ours.

The government’s One Village, One Dam initiative is a welcome development that can’t wait longer if the huge potential in agriculture will be realized for   the benefit of the country. The times the rains begin presents a challenge for farmers. Many of our farming practices rely heavily on rain-fed agriculture so the One Village One Dam principle will be very helpful in helping Ghana make a pronounced mark.

The One Village One Dam policy will upgrade farmers from having to constantly depend on rainfall to ensure their farms are watered to more effective and convenient irrigation systems.

The introduction of One Village One Dam Policy will undeniably increase food productivity and security, meet agricultural sector growth targets and fast-track the country’s efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) particularly the goals on eradication of extreme poverty and hunger.

When completed, the project would not only serve as a storage for harvested rain water for agricultural activities mostly in the dry season, It would also help to mitigate the perennial challenge of flooding which affects most communities whenever the spillway of the Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso is opened, leading to loss of human lives, animals and the destruction of farmlands and other valuable properties.

Another significant irrigation infrastructure that the government has committed to executing is theTorgorme irrigation project.

It has been projected that the 2,000-hectare irrigation project will generate about GH¢28million yearly after completion. Direct farm income per year after completion of the project and commencement of production is expected to increase from the current, GH¢1,653 per hectare to GH¢14,253 per hectare.

Speaking at the sod cutting of the project, President Akufo-Addo noted that a minimum of 17 communities with a combined population of over 6,000 would have direct access to water supply that would increase the earnings of small holder farmers through double-cropping under irrigated conditions, and the creation of jobs in addition to the completion of various agri-businesses down the value chain.

The project, which has been described as a game changer in the transformation of Ghana’s agriculture sector into an international one, is being undertaken by OM Metals/SPML (JV). It will be supersized by Messrs WAPCOS Limited in association with Messrs AGRARTEC with HMD Africa as the leading supplier of all machinery and equipment for the project.

The rejuvenation of the project has received $50million in addition to an earlier $100million committed six years ago from the World Bank and USAID as part of a larger nationwide irrigation project spearheaded by GCAP. The project covers three irrigation schemes including the KLBIP at Torgorme. The other two are the Kpong Irrigation Scheme and the Tolon Irrigation Scheme in the North.

The Ethiopian example

After rapid economic growth averaging 10% every year between 2004 and 2014, Ethiopia has emerged as an engine of development in Africa.
And there are no signs that ambitions for further growth are fading. This is clear from the government’s blueprint to achieve middle-income status – or gross national income of at least US$1006 per capita – by 2025. This would see a rapid increase in per capita income in Ethiopia, which is
currently US$783 , according to the World Bank.

Ethiopia’s growth has been propelled by at least two factors: the prioritization of agriculture as a key contributor to development and the fast-paced adoption of new technologies to boost the sector.

A third of Ethiopia’s GDP is generated through agriculture, and more than 12 million households rely on small-scale farming for their livelihoods.
One of the drivers of growth in the agricultural sector has been the expansion of irrigation. The country has seen the fastest growth in irrigation of any African country. The area under irrigation increased by almost 52% between 2002 and 2014.

This was achieved by investing in the sector, and by harnessing technology to expand irrigation to farmers who traditionally relied on rainfall to water their crops. This boosted productivity and income for farmers by helping them extend the growing season and become more consistent in their production.
Meanwhile, only 6% of arable land is currently irrigated across the whole of Africa. This means that there’s huge potential to expand irrigation and unlock economic growth.

These factors are highlighted by a new report from the Malabo Montpellier Panel. The panel convenes experts in agriculture, ecology, and nutrition and food security to guide policy choices by African governments. The aim is to help the continent accelerate progress towards food security and improved nutrition.
The panel’s latest report analyses progress – and highlights best practice – in irrigation in six countries. These include Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Niger and South Africa. Other African countries can draw lessons from the report’s insights.

The report identified a number of common factors in countries where significant progress has been made to expand irrigation, including key policy and institutional innovations.

In the case of Ethiopia, one of the main reasons for its success is that agriculture and irrigation have been featured on the Ethiopian policy agenda since 1991. In addition, specialised institutions have been set up with clear commitments to maximise the benefits of water control and irrigation systems.
In addition, the government has invested in the sector and has plans to continue doing so. It aims to allocate US$15 billion to irrigation development by 2020.
The investment is expected to deliver a number of returns. These include: more efficient use of fertilizers reduction in the seasonal variability in productivity and better yields from irrigated crops grown.

Another major area of development has been the collection of data. This is an invaluable asset that allows for careful monitoring and management of resources such as water, especially in times of drought.
In 2013, Ethiopia’s Agricultural Transformation Agency began mapping more than 32,400 sq kms to identify water resources, particularly shallow groundwater, with the potential for irrigation development.

The final results of this mapping in 89 districts revealed nearly 3 billion cubic metres of water at a depth of less than 30 meters. This could allow approximately 100,000 hectares of land to be brought under irrigation, benefiting 376,000 families.

Finally, Ethiopia has harnessed the value of a full range of irrigation technologies. These have ranged small-scale interventions to large infrastructure.

A joint project between the Ethiopian Bureau of Agriculture, local extension officers, and an NGO called Farm Africa, for example, helped women and young people adopt small-scale irrigation. This was part of an initiative to increase their incomes and improve their nutrition. Overall, the project reached nearly 6,400 women and landless people. The irrigation project also benefited 700 farming families.

In order to have food and income security and to attain broader development goals, countries need to make sure that all levels of government are engaged in planning and implementation. The private sector and farming communities also need to be involved to expand irrigation.

The experience of Ethiopia and other countries leading on irrigation can help Ghana develop country-specific strategies to effectively take irrigation to scale. The benefits of doing so, such as enhancing on-farm productivity and income, and improving resilience and livelihoods, are transformational.



According to The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), if women worldwide had the same access to productive resources as men, they could boost agricultural production and help lift 100 to 150 million people out of hunger. This claim is not only interesting; it represents an apparent narrative that we have inexplicably managed to sidestep.

In Ghana, majority of the women are engaged in agriculture as their main economic activity. Many of these women are the breadwinners of their families. It is out of their sweat that children are fed, clothed and school fees paid. Challenges of women in agriculture Research has it that women produce 80 per cent of crops and own about one per cent of land.

Culturally, in most parts of Ghana women do not own land even though they form a good percentage of agriculture workforces. The lack of access to land is making it difficult for the women to engage in commercial agriculture. Also, because of lack of resources, they do not have access to hired labor and tractor services.

They struggle on their small farms alone, hence their engagement in subsistence farming. Furthermore, lack of market research and information, limits women farmers to market opportunities, as they are confined to local markets where prices are generally lower than in urban markets.

The Volta region has recently emerged as an area for focus in agricultural production. Available statistics show that the region makes a mammoth contribution to the nation’s food basket. This forms part of the reasons for Agrihouse Foundation and partners’ decision to pitch tent with the Volta Region for the maiden edition of the WOMEN IN FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL LEADERSHIP FORUM & EXPO (WOFAGRIC 2019) and the GOLD IN THE SOIL AWARDS.
Billed under the theme, “Women! Key Partners in Shaping Agribusiness.” the Women in Food and Agric Leadership Forum (WOFAGRIC) & The Gold in the Soil Awards, will take place from Wednesday, June 12th -Thursday, June 13th, 2019 at the Stevens Hotel, Volta Region. It is expected to move to a different region every year, so all women can embrace and leverage on the platform.

The conceptual undertone for the project will focus on equipping agric-industry women with the capacity to improve production output. It will also access the impact women have, in shaping and directing the conversation on production, processing and marketing, policies, how farm related components of rural economy can contribute to income generation and employment and how women can rightfully take their place and tap in the opportunities within the agric sector. 


While emphasis on women in agriculture has largely focused on the Northern Region in recent years, the partners considers other regions including the Volta Region an ‘unsung hero’ that has rather unjustifiably endured underwhelming attention despite the impact of their industrious women in the agricultural value chain and are confident that WOFAGRIC and the GOLD IN THE SOIL AWARDS  will pay a key role in projecting women in agriculture in each and every region it gets to and become a sustainable platform  for women in agriculture to have a share of voice, share ideas, train and empower each other,  discuss issues pertinent to women in the industry, promote by showcasing through exhibitions, the works, products and services of women in Agric. The event will focus on Smallholder Women, beginner agribusinesses and women achievers in Agriculture, whiles building capacity, alongside the 2day event.

The GOLD IN THE SOIL AWARDS, which climaxes WOFAGRIC will also pay tribute to the efforts and contribution by women, young female ‘agripreneurs’, female students, physically challenged women, agricultural corporate leaders, innovators, extension officers, climate-smart agric champions and traditional leaders for their roles toward ensuring food security, poverty alleviation, employment creation and ultimately helping the economy.

Activities lined up to ensure that participants benefit optimally from the maiden edition of the initiative include:
– Leadership Training
– Mentorship & Guidance Dialogue
– Panel Discussion on Key Issues affecting women in Agribusiness
– Focused Training programmes for women seeking to venture into agriculture
– Empowerment Talk
– Exhibitions
– Documentary and Awards (Gold in the Soil Awards)

Key topics that will be discussed include:
1. How to start and manage agricultural production and agribusiness
2. The essence of Marketing and Branding in Agribusiness
3. How can women use agricultural production and agribusiness to bring solutions to Ghana’s economic, social and environmental challenges?
4. Climate smart agricultural approach and practises
5. Farming for Export, Promotion and Development

WOFAGRIC and the GOLD IN THE SOIL AWARDS seeks to recognize pioneers and trailblazers, the women who push the boundaries along the value chain. From the days of Adam to Tetteh – Quarshie, men have been considered to be at the forefront of agriculture. Women who have dared to challenge this stereotype have been looked at in a not-so- encouraging light. Though there has been a lot of work to increase visibility of women achievers in all industries, women still need and want to see other women role models.
Identifying exceptional women who others can relate to via women-only awards is a step in providing the much-needed examples currently lacking in many traditional awards. The end goal would be to have a level playing field among the genders but currently, we do not. Women are outnumbered by men in the executive talent pool in almost all industries for a number of culturally- bias reasons.
The organizers believe there has to be a paradigm shift in this regard by projecting women achievers in agribusiness. It also aims to promote networking among women achievers in agribusiness and propel them to do more collectively.

Participation will cut across Smallholder Women in Agriculture, rural women in Agriculture, youth in Agriculture, women achievers and agripreneurs in Agriculture whiles building capacity, alongside the 2-day event.

WOFAGRIC will unfold under three (3) main segments thus:
a) WOFAGRIC Exhibitions of Agriculture production and value added products, improved technologies and everything Agriculture.
The exhibition will bring together all the relevant women actors within the sector with the potential to stimulate increased staple crop productivity among small holder farmers including women. It will focus on Innovation bringing together buyers and sellers of the latest technology of products and services to make your business successful.

b) The WOFAGRIC Mentorship Dialogue, workshops and conference
This will be organized alongside the two-day exhibition to help build capacity of women farmers, entrepreneurs and women in agriculture.
It also aims at providing a platform to exchange best practices and share
valuable lessons learnt in handling and overcoming challenges in agribusiness.
It also seeks to facilitate dialogue between various actors in the Agribusiness space among women. It will present the platform to catalyze actions and refine their interventions in order to better respond to the needs; Advocate for inclusive value chains and agricultural market systems to support women in agribusiness.

c) The WOFAGRIC Awards (Gold in the Soil Awards)
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 to be to be aired on TV and social media platforms to showcase the works of these women and an award ceremony, organized to celebrate them

The Awards will have fourteen (14) categories:

1. Passion for the Farm Awards: The award recognizes those who have achieved excellence in their field or demonstrated an extraordinary contribution to the agribusiness industry. This category targets awarding women who are farming (production level) in their own right or in a partnership. These women should have made essential contribution(s) to the success and profitability of the farm dovetailing into creation of jobs and improving the economy of the country.

2. She-innovates Award: This category seeks to look out for a woman who looked at the community in relation to the farm, identified challenges and saw immense opportunity through diversification and eventually makes a success story out of that business idea by adding value through creating, innovation or invention.

3. Climate-Smart Women Project Award: This award will provide recognition for the efforts of a group of women or a woman-led organization, implementing an outstanding project in agriculture by adopting a climate smart approach and practices that supports in the transformation, development and is sustainably increasing agricultural productivity in the community. This project must be seen to be solving a real challenge and create tangible results.

4. Woman in Extension Services Award: This award will also provide recognition to women, either in the public or private sector, contributing effortlessly through training, capacity building, advocacy, to encourage the adaptation of best practices by farmers, thereby contributing significantly to the empowerment and socio-economic development of the society and the country as a whole

5. The Super Woman Award: This special category goes to a physically challenged woman, whose role, works and passion for agriculture, is contributing largely to community development, food security, poverty alleviation, job creation and economic growth in the Agric sector.

6. Star in Ag Award (Woman Agripreneur Award): This special recognition goes out to a young woman, already with great achievements in the agribusiness industry and inspiring her community, the country and putting the country on the International map.

7. Royal Agro: Through this award, we identify a traditional leader (Queen mother), who is into agriculture herself and her personal commitment to see women in agriculture in her community develop and thrive, is helping them in all ways possible through access to land, training, social impact programs and advocacy.

8. Diamond in the Rough Award: This award will unearth the works, efforts, contribution and potentials of a promising woman, leading the agro space in her own way, though not seen or recognized, but has the capabilities to be outstanding and be a shining agriculture / agribusiness star.

9. Feed to Food Livestock, Poultry & Fisheries Awards: This is to a woman with great determination and integrity who has continuously demonstrated a positive role in livestock, poultry or fisheries and has an unwavering commitment to succeed in this sector. This person should have made a series of significant selfless contributions with a long-lasting benefit to the Livestock and Fisheries sector.
10. The Change Champion Award: This category goes to the professional woman, whose ongoing effort, passion for her job, contribution and dedication to her work in the agro space, is contributing significantly to corporate internal change, whiles making a national impact.
11. Lady of The Region Export Award: This category recognizes and rewards the region’s most successful and innovative woman exporter, regardless of the size of the business or the export sales

12. Development Partner Award: This award recognizes the efforts of an International and local organization, whose works centers on agriculture and in particular, towards the development of women in the community, encouraging to adopt best practices, whiles adding value.

13. Princess Carla Award: This award recognizes the efforts of a dedicated woman, who employs all the standards and best practices in her agro business and in her on way, engages, inspire and train other women in her community to take agriculture as a business and adopt best practices to enhance productivity and increase yield


14. Gold in the Soil Award: This is the ultimate award of WOFAGRIC which seeks to appreciate the outstanding achievements of a woman producing along the entire agricultural value chain (from production through to processing, branding and marketing). Also measuring and recognizing the impact of her establishment to her community.


Criteria for Selection
The awards are open to women aged 18 and above from every district in Ghana. There can be direct entries or one could be nominated by friends or family by filling in an application form online or picking a form from the offices of Agrihouse foundation, WIAD office or the National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners Association of Ghana office (NFFAWAG)

Nomination package must include:
1. A typed profile, not to exceed 500 words, describing the agricultural work of the nominee and in their community.
2. Two nominators, providing letters of recommendation (not to exceed one page each) and contact information.
3. The nominee’s contact information.
WOFAGRIC forms part of efforts to empower women, promote their works, expand their horizon, recognize and award their works and further mentor and inspire other women to venture into Agribusiness.
This year’s event is being organized in collaboration with Agrihouse Foundation, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Women in Food and Agriculture Development (WIAD), National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners Association and the Volta Regional Coordinating Council.