The colossal effort put into the Agric sector by the Ghanaian woman is too huge to discount. It is so crucial that any effort geared towards highlighting it is easily a worthy endeavor.
Indeed failure to do this could see a catastrophic reversal of the massive gains that we have so painstakingly made since Ghana began putting together the foundations of a now burgeoning Agric sector.
According to the FAO, while the proportion of the labor force working in agricultural declined over the 1990s, the proportion of women working in agriculture increased, particularly in developing countries.
This is the motivation behind the maiden edition of the WOMEN IN FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL LEADERSHIP FORUM & EXPO (WOFAGRIC 2019) and the GOLD IN THE SOIL AWARDS scheduled to take place from Wednesday, June 12 -Thursday, June 13 2019 at the Chances Hotel, Volta Region.
According to Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa, Executive Director –Agrihouse Foundation, “To reinstate agriculture as the mainstay of the Ghanaian economy, certain critical issues need to be addressed. Key among these is the prevalent inequalities that abound in the sector. It is an obvious reality that women for instance do not receive adequate support in their quest to compete with their male counterparts despite their immense contribution to the sector.
Statistics show that about 70% of agricultural workers, 80% of food producers and 15% of those who process basic food, are women. These women also undertake 70 to 85% of the rural marketing. It is even more striking to note that, women contribute up to 60 to 80 per cent of food consumed through the contribution of labor for weeding, planting, harvesting and processing of agro products that result in 70 per cent of food production.
Despite the high level of involvement, women are still hampered by the lack of key supporting factors such as proper education, improved technology, fair market structures as well as other productive resources. This is why we have worked with our partners to create this platform which hopefully, will significantly empower our women to succeed”
The 2012 World Development Report (WDR) of the World Bank (WB) for instance, estimated that if female farmers in Ghana had the same access to fertilizers and other agro inputs such as improved technology, education among others as their male counterparts, the overall maize yields for example in the country would increase by almost one-sixth.
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.
WOFAGRIC 2019 will focus on equipping Agric-industry women with the capacity to improve production output. It will also assess 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.
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.
In the Agric sector, the role played by stakeholders has contributed significantly to the impressive growth noticeable in the Agric sector today. The success of the local agriculture industry is heavily reliant on the input of firms within and without the Agric sector who combine innovation and excellence to great effect.
Through the delivery of cutting-edge services that are tailored to fit the peculiar challenges of the local Agric industry, some firms have cemented their place as conspicuous allies of Ghanaian agriculture.
Besides quality products and relevant service delivery, these firms demonstrate admirable responsibility by consistently supporting the industry through sponsorship of initiatives tailored to improve specific aspects of Ghanaian agriculture.
Similarly, development partners like Canada has taken a keen interest in local Agric and has consequently been involved in several efforts geared towards helping Ghana reach her potential.
WOFAGRIC 2019 is sponsored by stalwart industry firms and partners who have remained resolute pillars of support for Ghanaian agriculture through the years.
Canada – Canada and Ghana have maintained a strong partnership in Agric research through a strong partnership in agricultural research through collaboration between Canadian and Ghanaian Universities, capacity development of national research institutions and other Canadian funded development projects.
Canadian support has helped Ghana develop an agricultural research system that is improving food security and economic growth throughout the country.
Today, the input of the Canadian embassy has contributed extensively to fueling increased women participation in Ghanaian agriculture.
As part of its contribution towards the two-day event, the Canadian embassy has made a commitment to provide funding and technical support.
Speaking during a press briefing session to formally espouse the event to the media in Accra, representative of the Canadian Embassy, Marie Claude said: “As a key partner of Ghana, we have in recent times seen the need to increase efforts towards women. This is because women represent an essential part of the society through which the rest of society can be positively impacted.
Focusing on gender equality (in Agric) for us is an opportunity to address the root-cause of poverty. Women play a key role in agriculture but there is a big gap in terms of access when compared to their male counterparts. This we believe makes it naturally difficult for women to transition from subsistence farming to one of industrial proportion. We are thrilled to know that WOFAGRIC is specifically targeted at women making it a fantastic opportunity for women to improve their business and expand.”
Interplast – Headquartered in Accra, the firm has a state- of –the- art production facility that churns out integrated solutions for water sector pipes, mining sector pipes and fittings, oil and gas sector distribution pipes, agricultural sector pipes etc.
Established in 1970, Interplast is a fully owned Ghanaian company with active export business in more than 22 African countries.
The company maintains high standards of quality and is committed to providing customers with consistent and highly professional products and services.
Interplast offers up-to-date solutions, new products and processes through its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. The company recently upgraded its pipe production capability to produce Polyethylene pipes up to 1,200 mm Diameter
ADB: Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) Limited is a universal bank offering a full range of banking products and services in Consumer, Corporate, Parastatal, SME, Agriculture, Trade and E-Banking services. Its business focus is universal banking with a developmental focus on Agriculture and more.
The banks enduring affinity for the Agric industry has seen it support several initiatives meant to support the growth of agric.
YARA Ghana Limited-Since venturing into Ghana over a decade ago, Yara has been importing and supplying high quality products for various crop areas such as cereals, vegetables, cocoa, etc.
The company has an expansive nationwide distribution network, which affords her the leverage of offering technical support for farmers signed onto its Yara “Crop Nutrition solutions” initiative.
With a central goal that is hinged on a desire to be a global leader in sustainable agriculture and environmental solutions, the company operates with a wider pool of organizational aspirations, which include being environmentally responsible, and responding to major global challenges, particularly those that directly affect the companies farmer-clients.