The second edition of the WOFAGRIC and Gold in the Soil Awards, created to honour women for their outstanding contribution to the development of agriculture and agribusiness in Ghana, has been launched. The event took place at the Absa Club House, North Ridge.
With the theme, “Transforming and Sustaining Women in Agriculture: The role of Public, Private and Development Partners,” this year’s edition of the event is slated for May, Friday 20th – Saturday 21st, 2020, at Kumasi, the capital city of Ashanti Region
Former First Lady Nana Konedu-Agyeman Rawlings, who was the Keynote Speaker at the well-attended event, was full of praises for Agrihouse Foundation, the organizers of the event which she said she totally identified with.
“When I started working with women, it was very difficult to get women to speak in public. They would say they needed the permission of their husbands to speak in public. However, I put a great deal of time, persistence (and) commitment and, today, the confidence of Ghanaian women in all spheres of national development is very visible – visibility alone is not enough,” the former 1st Lady told the audience of dignitaries attending the launch .
“We need serious participation and engagement of women in every sector as well,” she continued. “That is why I am totally elated with the WOFAGRIC program and the extensive participation of women in it.”
Commending the organizers further, she said: Agrihouse Foundation for initiating the programme to empower and reward women. “Not only because the Executive Director is doing exactly what I have tried to encourage, and work for, over 30 years in various sectors towards the empowerment of women but, most importantly, it was imperative…”
She encouraged women to play active leadership role in agriculture and mentor the young ones to take up agriculture and not rely on non-existent white color jobs.
She said government`s agricultural initiatives such as the Planting For Food And Jobs could not be recording the success it is being credited with today without the active involvement and contribution of women. Moreover, women constituted the largest part of the country’s agriculture labour force and should play leading roles in the sector.
In her welcome address, the Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa, said the programme was instituted two years ago to reward and honor women for the immense role they are playing to add value to the country’s agricultural development whilst providing food for the nation.
“Two years ago, this event started as an event organized as a compelling response to the demand to do something to encourage and thank our women who, through the years, unflinchingly remained the backbone our agriculture from season to season and year to year,” she said.
She said in spite of the fact that women dominated the agriculture sector, they were marginalized and faced so many obstacles which militated against their agriculture and agribusiness endeavors.
Ms. Akosa said the programme would draw positive attention to the women in the agribusiness space and bring them to the limelight, as well as help them build network and share best practice experiences with their colleagues and relevant experts attending the programme.
According to the Executive Director, some of the women who participated in the maiden awards had gotten export contracts and created their own agribusiness companies.
Ms. Akosa entreated the private sector, development partners and international non-profit organizations to support efforts targeted at growing agriculture as a tool for tackling and reducing poverty in Ghana for accelerated development.
The First Secretary of the Canadian High Commission, Marie-Claude Harvey asserted that empowering women was one of the surest way to address poverty.
She said the WOFAGRIC programme was in line with the Canadian government’s agenda to help empower women and address poverty.
Ms. Harvey disclosed that her outfit was supporting the Modernizing Agriculture in Ghana project to help the country transit from cutlass and hoe to mechanized agriculture.
The Director of Business Banking of Absa Ghana Limited, Grace Anim-Yeboah said as a bank that brings possibilities to life, the goal of the bank was to support women to be successful in their agriculture business.
“As a bank, we believe in the significant value that agriculture presents to the nation…, therefore, look to support the initiative,” she said.
The Head of Agribusiness of Absa Bank Ghana Limited, William Nettey, said the bank, over the years, had been supporting agribusinesses.
“With the transition into Absa Ghana, we are now better positioned to support SME agribusinesses, especially women entrepreneurs. Products are being designed to meet the specific needs of agribusinesses. We want to make Agriculture great again, and we can do it,” he declared.
An initiative of Agrihouse Foundation, a non-governmental organization whose agric-centered activities include capacity building for women in the agribusiness space, WOFAGRIC is being partnered by the government of Canada, Absa, Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Women in Agricultural Development (WIAD), and National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners Association of Ghana.
As part of the two-day programme, the participants will be taken through topics such as planning for their business, employing good agronomic practices and bookkeeping.