The Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, nominated for the ๐˜๐จ๐ฎ๐ง๐  ๐€๐œ๐ก๐ข๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ – ๐…๐ž๐ฆ๐š๐ฅ๐ž at the 6th edition of the EMY Africa awards.

The Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, nominated for the ๐˜๐จ๐ฎ๐ง๐  ๐€๐œ๐ก๐ข๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ – ๐…๐ž๐ฆ๐š๐ฅ๐ž at the 6th edition of the EMY Africa awards.

The Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa has been nominated for the ๐˜๐จ๐ฎ๐ง๐  ๐€๐œ๐ก๐ข๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ – ๐…๐ž๐ฆ๐š๐ฅ๐ž at the 6th edition of the EMY Africa awards.

The Young Achiever Female celebrates a woman under the age of 40 who has excelled and showed evidence of impactful contribution in her area of endeavour.

Kindly visit www.emyafrica.com/voting to support, ๐‚๐ฅ๐ข๐œ๐ค ๐จ๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐˜๐จ๐ฎ๐ง๐  ๐€๐œ๐ก๐ข๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ- ๐…๐ž๐ฆ๐š๐ฅ๐ž ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฏ๐จ๐ญ๐ž ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐€๐ฅ๐›๐ž๐ซ๐ญ๐š ๐๐š๐ง๐š ๐€๐ค๐ฒ๐š๐š ๐€๐ค๐จ๐ฌ๐š

Or ๐“๐ž๐ฑ๐ญ ๐„๐Œ๐˜ ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐ฎ๐ฌ ๐€๐ฅ๐›๐ž๐ซ๐ญ๐š ๐๐š๐ง๐š ๐€๐ค๐ฒ๐š๐š ๐€๐ค๐จ๐ฌ๐š, ๐˜๐จ๐ฎ๐ง๐  ๐€๐œ๐ก๐ข๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ โ€“ ๐…๐ž๐ฆ๐š๐ฅ๐ž to ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ—๐Ÿ‘

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YARA Reiterates the Need for Knowledge Sharing at 3rd WOFAGRIC

YARA Reiterates the Need for Knowledge Sharing at 3rd WOFAGRIC

The role of training, mentorship, and knowledge sharing among agriculturists is integral. These efforts lead to holistic mental and technical capacity building among actors, leading to higher productivity within the agric value chain. The thoughts were well-articulated by the West Africa Regional Director of YARA, Mr. Danquah Addo-Yobo, in a welcome message recently delivered on his behalf, at theย  3rdย Women in Food and Agricultural Leadership Training Forum (WOFAGRIC) and the Gold in the Soil Awards, organized by Agrihouse Foundation in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region.

Exploring the theme of the 2-day event, โ€œSurviving, Thriving and Making Waves beyond the Pandemic,โ€ the regional director said that for women in agriculture to survive, thrive and make waves beyond the pandemic in the agricultural sector, deliberate policy actions needed to be in place to mitigate the challenges they face. He was therefore glad that, the annual event did not only seek to celebrate agri-women who were shining exceptionally in their roles, but also, the event served as a training and mentoring platform that facilitated knowledge sharing, enabling the women to build on their understanding within the agric sector.

This year, as part of the capacity building training and mentoring sessions, the agric-women were taken through topics such as:- How Agri-women can make the most out of the pandemic; how to keep proper accounting and records in farming and co-operative management/ funding opportunities, and how to access loans and funding.

Others included:- best practices and skills to adopt in farm management; and simple steps to develop a business plan; practical ways of overcoming challenges among agribusiness women; how to improve and increase markets, through digital and technological innovation; how women agribusinesses can be grown and connected to a world of opportunities. The rest are:- Farming for Export, Promotion and Development; enhancing access to finance and promoting quality standards within agricultural spaces.

He was particularly pleased that YARA representatives were selected to share knowledge on, โ€œBest Practices and Skills to adopt in Farm Management,โ€ considering the emphasis Yara places on sharing knowledge and building capacity within the agricultural sector. โ€œYara grows knowledge to responsibly feed the world and protect the planet, to fulfill our vision of a collaborative society, a world without hunger and a planet respected,โ€ he stressed.

To meet these commitments, he said Yara have taken the lead in developing digital farming tools for precision farming and work closely with partners throughout the whole food value chain to develop more climate-friendly crop nutrition solutions. In addition, the globe company has committed to working towards sustainable mineral fertilizer production; fostering an open culture of diversity and inclusion within its organization. Such efforts promote the safety and integrity of employees, contractors, business partners, and society.

Mr. Addo-Yobo therefore urge the women to participate actively in the sessions; ask questions and even make suggestions. This, he said, would help them put the knowledge gained into practice and share with others who did not have an opportunity to be at the event. He further used the opportunity to encourage the women to keep working hard and scaling up their efforts. He said, even in the mist of the COVID-19 Pandemic, women farmers in the country played major roles in ensuring that the countryโ€™s agricultural sector saw a healthy growth of 2.5 percent, according the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS). โ€œHowever, women continue to face challenges such as, โ€œgender-based disparities in terms of access to resources and services, influencing decision-making, unfair land tenure systems and unbalanced economic opportunities,โ€ he added.

He said agencies like Women in Agriculture and Ministry of Food and Agriculture must work to ensure equal access to capital, capacity building and other essential linkages in the sector.  Touching on YARAโ€™S association with WOFAGRIC & Gold in the Soil Awards, he said YARA recognizes the crucial roles women play in various areas of the agricultural value chain, even as they continue to take responsibility for their familyโ€™s welfare, health, education, food and nutrition. He said Yara Ghana has been supportive of the event from the onset and will continue to be a part of WOFAGRIC and Gold in the Soil Awards because the events seek to improve the capacities and highlight the efforts of our gallant women farmers.

Third WOFAGRIC and Gold in the Soil Awards

This year, the 2-days event helped to explore ways to enhance womenโ€™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.ย  Appropriately, the theme was, โ€œSurviving, Thriving and Making Waves beyond the Pandemic.โ€

The second part of the event, the โ€˜Gold in the Soil Awards,โ€™ is an awards scheme dedicated to strengthening and projecting a paradigm shift of celebrating women farmers, processors, marketers and women who are playing a role within the agricultural value chain, including women into Transportation, packaging, Technology, input dealers, etc. The Awards moves from Region to Region, yearly, to search for these extraordinary women who contribute significantly to putting food on our tables daily. Their stories are shared in a documentary series produced by Agrihouse Foundation. This year, the Awards Scheme received 131 nominations from both Upper East and Upper West Region; the first time nominations were opened in such a way, โ€œto allow more women from culturally diverse backgrounds an opportunity to participate in the awards scheme,โ€ the Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, Ms. Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa, noted.

During the assessments and breakdown of entries received, the Foundation realised that 50% of the entries were from women farmers, farming between 10-65 acres of maize, yam, groundnut, soya beans, vegetables, Bambara beans, millet and sorghum. 32% of the women were largely into Processing, Packaging and marketing of Shea, Neem, Moringa, Boabab, Dawada, groundnut, oils, etc. 15% were into distribution and marketing of Input (seeds, fertilizers, etc) and about 3% of these women were into Tractor and Equipment operating and hiring. Furthermore, the majority of women farmers who submitted entries were between ages 25-65years, and have been operating their businesses within a period of 2 to 40years, โ€œThis 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,โ€ Ms. Akosa said.

At the end of the assessments and breakdown, out of 131 nomination, 45 women were shortlisted and documented on video telling their stories as agri-women. The number was further shortlisted to 14 agri-women who received the Gold in the Soil Awards.

Portia Wins the Ultimate Gold in the Soil Award

Madam Portia Asumda, was crowned the ultimate โ€˜Gold in the Soil Awards,โ€™ Winner this year. The thirty-eight years old farmer hails from Zangeyire in the Upper East Region, and has been farming for the past eight years. She is into shea-processing and crop production, and rearing of livestock. In crop production, she farms twenty acres of land, of which she uses ten acres for maize production; two acres for Guinea corn; three acres for groundnut; and two acres for rice. She rears about two hundreds ruminants; one hundred and twenty cows; and five hundred guinea fowls. She works with about two thousand agri-women across upper-east, west and the Tansi district. Under her leadership and coordination, they are able to process their sheabutter, which for some years now; they have had opportunity to start exporting to countries like the USA and Canada. They export up to forty tonnes of sheabutter.

Touching on challenges, she said transportation and the absence of a farm tractor makes it difficult for them to transport their harvest and plough their farmlands. โ€œWhen we hire a tractor to come and plough our land, one plot is one hundred and fifty Ghana cedis. So ploughing all twenty acres is very expensive and is a problem,โ€ she stated.

She said a โ€œMotor King,โ€ the tricycle they use to transport food from the farm would considerably solves their transportation challenges, and therefore pleaded with Agrihouse Foundation and sponsors to provide the farm with one. Emerging as the ultimate Gold in the Soil Award winner, Portia Asumda, took home a brand new tricycle to aid with transportation on her farm, just like she requested for. She was awarded a Gold in the Soil Award plague and other incentives, including, bottles of fertilizer provided by Yara Ghana, an irrigation pump, provided and to be installed on her farm by Interplast. She received a certificate of honor, a full piece of cloth and branded T-shirts from sponsors. The rest of the winners in the various categories are as follows:

The Passion for Farm Awardโ€” Portia Gban, from Upper West Region. The award recognizes an individual woman who is excited and passionately about agribusiness and contributing to the growth of her community, creating jobs, mentoring girls in the community and supporting them to take up agric, either small scale and large scale.

She Innovates Awardโ€” Gafaratu Fuseini, from Upper East Region. This award goes to a woman who has or is working with the power of innovation and adding value to her agro business. She Identified a challenge within the community and the value chain and found a solution through innovation.

Climate Smart Women Project Awardโ€” Memuna Abdul Rahaman, from Upper West Region. This award provides 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 her community.

Outstanding Woman in Extension Services Awardโ€” Leuzumah Rashida, from Upper West Region. This award provides 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.

Super Woman Farmer Awardโ€” Alima Wahabu, from Upper East Region. 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.

Royal Agro Awardโ€” Ayiesheitu Mahamadu Asaki, from Upper East Region. 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.

Diamond in the Rough Awardโ€” Saantuma Sala, from Upper West Region. This award goes to a generational role model, making waves at the background within her community, an unsung heroine, who has indeed mentored and made great strides for her family, her people and the community as a whole.

Feed to Foods Awardโ€” Genevive Akugu, from Upper East Region. This is to a woman with great determination and integrity who has continuously demonstrated a positive role in poultry and livestock and has an unwavering commitment to succeed in this sector.

Change Champion Awardโ€” Asieme Elsie Azelikumah, from Upper East Region. This category goes to the professional corporate 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.

Development Partner Awardโ€”Canadian High Commission. This award recognizes the efforts of an International organization, whose works centres on agriculture and in particular, towards the development of women in the community, encouraging to adopt best practices, whiles adding value.

Lady of the Export Region Awardโ€” Anita Sutha, from Upper West Region. This category recognizes and rewards the regionโ€™s most successful and innovative woman exporter, with regards to the size of the business and the export sales.

Star Woman Agripreneur Awardโ€” Mavis Alahire Aboko, from Upper East region. This special recognition goes out to an outstanding agribusiness beginning young lady, in any field of agriculture. This young lady should be seen to be excelling (ie, efficiency in service delivery, income performance,) in her field and already a great role model, mentoring other young girls in her community.

She operates Awardโ€” Joy okrah, from Upper West Region. This Award recognises an exceptional female into operation management and maintenance of tractor services. She should be earning income from this trade and imparted her community with her skill.

Princess Carla Awardโ€” Hawawu Gbahara, from Upper West Region. This award recognizes the efforts of a dedicated woman, whose works and role affects communities positively; touching lives, mentoring, role modelling, advising, counselling and enhancing networks for other women, both young and old.

WOFAGRIC and Gold in the soil Awards, this year, was in partnership with Canadian High Commission, ABSA Ghana and YARA, INTERPLAST, OCP AFRICA, PEG AFRICA, LUMINANT ELECTRICALS AND RDF GHANA. Collaborating Institution included, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Women in Agriculture Development (WIAD) and the National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners Association (NFFAWAG).

3rd WOFAGRIC Launch Centre Stage Stories of Women in Agric

3rd WOFAGRIC Launch Centre Stage Stories of Women in Agric

The recent launch of the 3rd Women in Food and Agriculture Leadership Training Forum & The Gold in the Soil Awards, brought together guests and dignitaries, who like Agrihouse Foundation, have the agricultural sector at heart, and want to see it flourish in growth and productivity. They included, Nana Hemaa Adowa Awinor, who served as Chairperson for the event; Madam Fatima Alimohammed, Agribusiness Chairperson of Association of Ghana Industries, who was the guest speaker.

Organizing partners and sponsor organizations, were made up of the Canadian high Commission, represented by Deputy Director of Operations at Stephanie Brunet; Mrs. Grace Amin-Yeboah, head of Business Banking at ABSA; Mr. Addo Danquah-Yobo, West-Africa Regional Director of YARA Ghana. Others included, personalities from Women in Agriculture Development (WIAD); the Department of Policy Planning Monitoring & Evaluation, both under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture; and the National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners Association of Ghana (NFFAWAG).

The day also brought together a number of Queen Mothers and Agri-women from Womenโ€™s Small Livestock Breeders Association, as well as, Women in Poultry Value Chain; Yonkodo Farmers Group; Mrs. Mabel Kudzo, 2nd National Best Farmer in 2017; Madam Evelyn Aditsey, Director of at ACDI/VOCA, and Agrihouse Foundation, Gold in the Soil Award Nominees; Madam Cecelia Akoka, Cattle, Oranges, Plantain and Yam Farmer from Nkwaakwa District; Madam Yaa Kesewa, Cassava and Maize Farmer, from Ofoase District; Madam Nana Pomaa, Rabbit and Grasscutter Farmer, from Morso District; and Madam Ramatu Amadu, Pepper and maize Farmer, from Nkwaakwa District.

Most importantly, the launch of the 3rdย WOFAGRIC & Gold in the Soil Awards gave the women an uninterrupted platform to share their impact stories through their efforts in the agricultural sector; highlighting challenges, but also how they continue to forge forward.

Agri-Women Stories & Challenges

Madam Rebecca Aboagye of Yonkodo Farmers Group revealed that the covid-19 period has been very challenging for the about 30 thousand women farmers she works, which concerns like access to transport, working capital, ready market, post-harvest losses and farming machinery and equipment being on top of their list. But their love for farming, specifically has kept them going and has been their biggest motivation. She noted that access to funds will solve much of their challenges because they were a dedicated and hardworking group of women farmers who are ready to make good use of the support they receive. But presently, the group had little support, and even in spite of their challenges, they are not ready to give up on agricultureโ€” because, beyond striving to find market for their crops, they also donate to the prisons, charity home and families in need in their communities, which is a good thing.

Agrihouse Foundation, Madam Rebecca Aboagye noted, is the only organization that continues to stand with them, and therefore thanked the organization for recently organizing the Agri-Woman Market Place; a directly marketplace event which helped her and a number of colleagues sell of much of their produces, โ€œBut we need money, government support; farm machines, and wellington boots for our farming activities,โ€ she pleaded, โ€œBecause of the pandemic we lost about 360 archers of rice; 160 archers of cabbage and carrots; 260 archers of plantains. We have recently started planting about 30,000 archers of food crops, and we need help to continue workingโ€ she bemoaned.

Also stressing on the need for funding for women in agric, Mrs. Mabel Kodzo was a clear example of an agric-woman who will do so much when she receives maximum financial backing for her efforts. The 2ndย National Best Farmer in 2017, noted that, even as a child psychologist, farming was a big passion of hers; so, she later in her career, she went back to school to study agronomy, which helped her to start cultivating her farm in the Oti Region. Mrs. Mabel Kodzo is a proud owner of about 2,230 archers of farmland; about 1000 archers being brown rice, and the rest, other food crops. She works with 3,000 women, in 13 districts of the oti region. Touching on her experiences with trying to access funds for her farming projects, she said until the pandemic, she was trying on her own, but within this short period, she has suffered a number of losses that caused her to lose money, โ€œto start with, the rains did not come early, and I also started feeling sick,โ€ she revealed, โ€œThe doctor stopped me from going into the farm. For a while I didnโ€™t know how to overcome this situation, because the women I worked with looked up to me and most of them were becoming very afraid to go back to work of the farm as well because of covid-19โ€ she explained.

When her husband stepped in to help her manage the farm and her health was starting to get better, she finally thought the worst had passed. But unfortunately, that wasnโ€™t the case, โ€œJust when we were ready to harvest our 1000 archers of rice, 3000 cows belonging to Fulani herdsmen intruded our farmers and destroyed our rice crops,โ€ Mrs. Kodzo revealed. As a result of these huge losses, she also now has to depend on bank support when prior to the pandemic it wasnโ€™t the case, โ€œthe banks make all kinds of promises and assurances in the media to poultry farmers, but ones you get there, itโ€™s a different story. They are not willing to lend to you because they know the risks associated with poultry farmingโ€ she said. Presently, even though, according to her, sheโ€™s being able to pick up again in the areas of poultry and animal husbandry, and hopes to go back to rice production soon, that will require financial support which she currently doesnโ€™t have, โ€œI am helping a lot of the young ladies stay on the farms in oti region. I donโ€™t want this setback to be the reason any of them will migrate to Accra to become Kayayei. We need helpโ€ she said.

Madam Gafaratu Fusseini, CEO of Queen Gaf Enterprise, who came from Tamale in the Northern region to participate in the event, noted that, a few months into the pandemic, she realized that the public was more focused on buying sanitizing products like hand sanitizers, paper towels, and t-rolls. Thus, she had to quickly adjusted her business activities to align with the times. She went into the production of sanitizing products, after making enquiries from the Food and Drugs Authority. Producing sanitizing products has been quite successful, she said during the session. She was able to depend on some plants like allo vera to help in the production of her sanitizing products. She has since gone back to crop production, but because of her innovative thinking in these times, she now has an added business, and was thankful to Agrihouse for creating the Agri-Woman platform that helps agri-women like her showcase their services and products.

Agri-Interventions for Women Farmers

For her part, Madam Evelyn Aditsey, of the United States Department of Agriculture, Ghana Poultry Project, noted that the spread of covid-19 took many of their beneficiaries by surprise, and as quickly as possible, the organization had to find alternative ways to continue engaging with them, in line with their activities and program, โ€œwe resorted to a horizontal kind of assistance, where we conduct our trainings through zoom, and other online platforms,โ€ she said. But unfortunately, not all their beneficiaries are conversant with using electronic media, so that has been one of their challenges. She also revealed that within the agric value chain, animal farmers have been affected most by the covid-19 pandemic. Thus, regarding funding, the organization secured some financial support for their beneficiaries, to help them get back to work. She was happy to state that, even with all the challenges of the period, the agri-women made judiciously use of the funds, and have been able to pay back their loans.

In her presentation, which happened after listening to the women farmers deliberate on their challenges in accessing funds towards their agricultural projects, the Head of Business Banking at ABSA Ghana, Mrs. Grace Amin Yeboah, noted that, it was time for Corporate Ghana to step when it comes to funding agricultural initiatives in the country, even though the agric sector is frost with challenges, โ€œbut where there are challenges, we need to find alternative ways of dealing,โ€ she said. She said banks can come together with agricultural institutions to create different structures and interventions that help agricultural initiatives to grow in the country. She noted that such collaborations have a high chance of succeeding because women largely pay their banks loans, and Agrihouse Foundation, through WOFAGRIC is shedding light on small scale farmers, who are mostly womenโ€” but according to research contributes up to about 80 percent of all agricultural produces grown in the country, โ€œso what can we begin to do differently to fashion solutions for our our women farmers?โ€ she asked. According to her, ABSA Ghana has been working on a number of solutions in this regard, โ€œwe have created a womenโ€™s solution called EMERGE; a banking solution that looks at the totality of the woman agripreneurs need. The whole idea is to bridge the financial gab between women led and men led SMEโ€™s.โ€

She said this solution by ABSA Ghana is looking at how to facilitate business growth for women, to increase employment and reduce poverty, in line with MDG number 5, which is to empower women and achieve gender quality. The solution also creates developmental and networking opportunities for business women, access to market and discount on banking facilities, free financial and business advisory services, international travelling opportunities and organizing coding bootcamps for children of women-farmers.

She noted that, in order for agri-women to fully enjoy the benefits of this solution, they must ensure they are practicing best business practices such as proper bookkeeping, โ€œWe have also partnered with the Mastercard Foundation to actually provide financial support, and the plan is to lend out a hundred million dollars, equivalent in cedis, over the next five years. We hope to impact at least 5000 SMEโ€™s,โ€ she revealed, emphasizing that, Undoubtedly, financial interventions like this will help agri-women groups like Womenโ€™s Small Livestock Breeders, Women in Poultry Value Chain, Yonkodo farmers Group, and the many more women agripreneurs who were present at the launch.

On his part, the West-Africa Regional Director of Yara Ghana, Mr. Addo Danquah-Yobo, said Yara Ghana is also well placed to contribute significantly to the issues about fertilizer supply for farmers in the country, with emphasis on women farmers, considering the climate and environmentally smart nutrition solutions the organization provides, as well as the several digital offerings that it will be rolling out soon to support small holder farmers to be more productive, profitable and resilient.

He said, now more than ever, there is a need to rethink and find sustainable approaches to doing business during and beyond COVID-19. He therefore praised Agrihouse for the theme for WOFAGRIC, which he said was very appropriate, โ€œWomen in Agric: Surviving, Thriving, and Making Waves beyond the Pandemic.โ€

He said Yara globally is also engaging partners in the Food Chain to ensure that everyone everywhere has enough good-quality food to lead a healthy life by improving the productivity and incomes of small-scale farmers by promoting equal access to land, technology and markets, sustainable food production systems and resilient agricultural practices as part of the UN SDG Goal 2.

Mr. Addo Danquah-Yobo therefore urged the agri-women to set high ambitions and targets for themselves, and work at meeting them. He said it is not enough to be a woman farmer, and even though the COVId-19 has intensified a lot of challenges women face in the sector, it has also inspired some new opportunities. He therefore encouraged the women to focus more on the new opportunities and use this COVID-19 period to build resilience that will improve their activities in the long term.

He said corporate Ghana must also do more for women farmers to ensure gender equality in the sector. He therefore used the opportunity to commend the women for their hard throughout the years and praised Agrihoiuse Foundation for pushing a platform like WOFAGRIC & Gold in the Soil Award, that continues to celebrate, educate, train and highlight the challenges of women in the agric sector. He said YARA Ghana, like Agrihouse Foundation is committed to the development and achievements of women, thus, YARA Ghana will continue to support WOFAGRIC & Gold in the Soil Awards for many years.

โ€œYara Ghana is passionate about women achievers; our human resource manager for West African is a woman; our best distributor is a woman, one of our best field agronomists is a woman, based in northern Ghana,โ€ he noted, โ€œYara Ghana is looking forward to the day when the national best farmer, best exporter, best processor, will be women farmersโ€ he said.

Well-Wishes from Partners

In a speech read on his behalf, the Upper east Regional Director of Agriculture, Mr. Francis Ennor, of the total estimated farmer population in the region, 49% are women farmers.

He said the region has therefore in recent times, organized and strengthened women capacities in the areas of agribusiness and marketing, โ€œthe region organized a regional agribusiness partnership platform which brought together processors, aggregators, marketers, financial institutions, input dealers and services providers,โ€ he outlined.

He thanked Foundation for choosing the Upper East Region to host this yearโ€™s two-days event, โ€œthe Upper East Region is more than prepared to for the project and would therefore accord it all the necessary technical support it desires to succeedโ€ he assured.

For his part, the Regional Director of the Upper West Region, noted that empowering women farmers is the way to ending hunger and poverty.

He said, according to a FAO report, if 43 % of the agricultural labour force in developing countries were women and had the same access to resources as men farmers, this could increase production in developing countries by 20-30% and potentially reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 100 to 150 million people.

He therefore described WOFAGRIC & Gold in the Soil Awards as a laudable idea, and commended Agrihouse for pushing it, โ€œwhen this is done, it will build life-long resilience to mitigate the effects of any pandemic occurrence on women farmers,โ€ he said.

The Chairman of the National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners Association (NFFAWAG), in his speech, praised the agri-women for working tirelessly throughout this period of COVID-19, feeding Ghanaians with fruits and vegetables that help to our immune systems as required in these times.

โ€œit the midst of the challenges, COVID-19 has also brought out opportunities in the agricultural value chain, in areas of production, distribution, processing, sales and branding, which our distinguished women in agric are taking advantage ofโ€ he added. He said NFFAWAG is looking forward to a successful main event in June and thanked Agihouse Foundation for the opportunity to be part of it.

The Department of Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, also in a speech, noted that because the Ministry is committed to public private partnerships, that is why in the past four years it has been engaging Agrihouse Foundation in all of its activities, โ€œwe see the practical and corroborative impacts the Foundation is making in the agric sector and we are very comfortable to call ourselves partners,โ€ he said.

He said the two organizations have over the years been effectively collaborating in the planning and the execution of the National Farmers Day Celebration, โ€œI can confidently say that we have been doing a great job and we look forward to more fruitful engagements in that areaโ€ he added.

He thanked Agrihouse for the opportunity to be part of the planning committee of WOFAGRIC and called for more support for the Foundation, โ€œLet me use this opportunity to note how praise worthy it is that Canadian High Commission is standing with Agrihouse as a main organizing partner. On behalf of Agrihouse, I will call on other institutions to come on board to support the various interventional agri-projects the organization is championing,โ€ he said.

The Beauty of WOFAGRIC & Gold in the Soil Awards 2021

The theme for this yearโ€™s 2-day event is โ€˜WOMEN IN AGRIC โ€“ SURVIVING, THRIVING & MAKING WAVES, BEYOND THE PANDEMICโ€™ and is scheduled to take place in June, in Bolgatanga, the Upper East Region of Ghana. According to the Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, Ms. Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa, this year, Agrihouse is receiving nominations for the Gold in the Soil Awards, from both Upper East and Upper West Region, โ€œthis is the first time the Foundation is opening up nominations in such a way,โ€ she said, โ€œto allow more women from culturally diverse backgrounds an opportunity to participate in the awards scheme.

2019 & 202o Impacts of WOFAGRIC & Gold in the Soil Awards

Since 2019, WOFAGRIC has helped shape and build more career women in the field of agriculture in their various rural areas and communities, continuously being a source of women empowerment. 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 whist 2 of them picked upย awards at the National awards.ย In 2020, even though held under strict COVID-19 protocols at the end of the tw0-day event, 25 % of women who were not into agribusiness but attended the program had decided to start up their own agri-projects, as a result of the competence based training and soft skills, they had acquired; about 900 women were groomed to take up leadership roles and build their capacities, to drive them towards growth and expansion of their agribusinesses.

The Gold in the Soil Awards

The Gold in the Soil Awards seeks to recognize and celebrate pioneering women and trailblazers who push the boundaries along the agribusiness value chain, especially, in our communities, districts and regional levels, within and across the country. The awards is made up of 15 categories, including: Passion for the Farm Awards, She-Innovates Award, Climate-Smart Women Project Award, Outstanding Woman in Extension Services Award, The Super Woman Farmer Award, Star Woman Agripreneur Award (Woman Agripreneur Award), Royal Agro Award, Diamond in the Rough Award, Feed to Food Awards โ€“ (Poultry, Livestock & Fisheries), The Change Champion Award, Lady of The Region Export Award, Development Partner Award, Princess Carla Award, Gold in the Soil Award, and She-Operate s Award.

3rd WOFAGRIC and Gold in the Soil Awards Receives 131 Nominations

3rd WOFAGRIC and Gold in the Soil Awards Receives 131 Nominations

The third (3rd) edition of Women in Food and Agricultural Leadership Training Forum (WOFAGRIC) And Gold in The Soil Awards, powered by Agrihouse Foundation, has received 131 nominations of deserving women farmers and agribusinesses.

The event is set to take place from the 23rdย to the 24thย of June 2021 at the Akayet Hotel, Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region, under the theme: โ€œWomen in Agric- Surviving, Thriving and Making Waves Beyond the Pandemic.โ€

The event, primarily designed to empower women in the agricultural sector, also seeks to increase their participation in agribusiness and recognize exceptional performance of trailblazers who push the boundaries along the value chain. It is further designed to bring together actors in the agric value chain such as farmers, aggregators, transporters, buyers, input dealers, suppliers, agro companies and many others in a serene environment where knowledge, ideas and relevant skills will be shared to the benefit of the farmers and others in the agric value chain especially women.

Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa, has noted that the Foundation is excited with the balanced women Farmers and Agribusiness value chain representation, with the entries received so far, from women from the Upper East and West respectively.

โ€œ50% 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,โ€ she highlighted.

The Foundation has also noted that majority of the women farmers who submitted entries are between ages 25-65years, โ€œThis 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,โ€ she revealed, adding that all the entries received are from women, who have been operating their businesses within a period of 2 to 40years.

Highlighting on the theme for this yearโ€™s event, โ€œSurviving, Thriving and Making Waves beyond the Pandemic,โ€ย Ms. Akosa said, 2021 WOFAGRIC and Gold in the Soil Awards would explore ways to enhance womenโ€™s resilience and recovery from the effects of the pandemic. The event will enable women in agribusiness develop, improve and sustain new agricultural practices, as well as develop their business within this pandemic era and beyond.

For her part, the Deputy Director โ€“ Development, of the Canadian Embassy, Ms. Stephanie Brunet, said, โ€œThe theme for this yearโ€™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.

โ€œThat 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 yearโ€™s event. We strongly believe that women are critical to the sustainability of Ghanaโ€™s agriculture and that successful women farmers deserved to be recognized for their achievement and contributions to the nation.โ€  She ended.

The core objectives of the initiative will among other things will seek to attract and boost the interest of women in agribusiness and motivate them to display their products and services while recognising their efforts in agribusiness.

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 WOFAGRIC and Gold in soil awards have chalked many successes over the years. The maiden edition held in the Volta region and the second edition hosted in the Ashanti region have proved worthwhile. This yearโ€™s edition promises to be much more educative, fun-filled and rewarding.

The two (2)-day event will unfold under two (2) main segments thus:

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

The Farms and Businesses of these women are currently being visited in the Upper East and Upper West Regions, to document and share their extraordinary farming and business journey.

Out of the 45 women shortlisted, 15 women will be recognized and awarded, in the 15 categories, they sent entries to, namely; 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, The Super Woman Farmer Award, Star Woman Agripreneur Award (Woman Agripreneur Award), Royal Agro Award, Diamond in the Rough Award, Feed to Food Awards โ€“ (Poultry, Livestock & Fisheries) and the ultimate, Gold in the Soil Award.

โ€œWe are poised to reward excellence by recognising the efforts of our incredible agriwomen, most of whom have unfortunately remained unsung heroes despite their mammoth contribution to the Agric discipline. WOFAGRIC and the GOLD IN THE SOIL AWARDS, will continuously identify such women, shed light on their endeavours and reward their industry and resilience,โ€ Ms. Akosa emphasized.

Over the years, WOFAGRIC and Gold in the Soil Awards has received support from the Canadian Embassy, Women in Agriculture Development (WIAD), ABSA, INTERPLAST, OCP AFRICA, PEG AFRICA, National Farmers and Fishermen Winners Association of Ghana (NFFAWAG), and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA).

Canada Reiterates Commitment to Ghanaian Women in Agriculture at 3rd WOFAGRIC

Canada Reiterates Commitment to Ghanaian Women in Agriculture at 3rd WOFAGRIC

The Deputy Director, Program Planning, at the Canadian High Commission, Corey Huntington, has reiterated Canadaโ€™s commitment towards empowering women in agriculture in Ghana.

She said it is the reason Canada continues to support WOFAGRIC and Gold in the Soil Awards because the vision of the event strongly resonates with Canadaโ€™s Feminist International Assistance Policy, which aims to put women and girlโ€™s front and centre of development.

โ€œWe strongly believe that women are critical to the sustainability of Ghanaโ€™s agriculture and that successful women farmers deserved to be recognized and celebrated for their achievements and contributions to the nation,โ€ she stressed.

In a short presentation at WOFAGRIC and Gold in the Soil Awards, she described the event as, โ€œthe right platform to highlight the successes of women farmers and demonstrate that, given equal opportunities, women farmers can contribute significantly to Ghanaโ€™s development agenda,โ€ she underscored.

She therefore commended Agrihouse Foundation for providing an annul capacity building and networking opportunity through WOFAGRIC, that helps to build resilience of women farmersโ€”  this year, focusing on agri-women in the Upper East and Upper West regions.

Modernizing Agriculture in Ghana (MAG) Project Powered by Canada

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). Canada recognises that the agriculture sector continues to hold great potential for reducing poverty and inequality in Ghana. In this light, Canada is providing 125 million Canadian dollars of assistance directly to the Government of Ghana to help modernize the sector.

The MAG project is now in the fifth year of implementation and tremendous successes are being recorded. These include increases in the adoption of relevant, productivity-enhancing technologies by both female and male farmers in Ghana, the introduction of new market-oriented approaches to farm management, improvements in major crops and many more.

A big focus of the MAG project has been to understand the specific needs of women farmers and to ensure that both female and male farmers are receiving the appropriate extension services to help them improve both their yields and their incomes.

This is in line with Canadaโ€™s Feminist International Assistance policy and the UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 on Gender Equality. Through our partnerships with the Government of Ghana and organizations like the Agrihouse Foundation, we are witnessing increased empowerment and self-reliance among women in the agricultural sector.

Women farmers are demonstrating higher levels of financial autonomy.  As a result, they are now able to buy land, add rooms to their homes, purchase agro-processing machines, expand their agro-processing activities, and pay school fees for their children.

About 3rd WOFAGRIC and Gold in the Soil Awards

This year Madam Portia Asumda, from Zangeyire in the Upper East Region took home the ultimate Gold in the Soil Award. She has been farming five years and is into the cultivation of rice, and maize, and rears cow, small ruminant and guinea fowls.

She has been working for the past 10 years and has helped train about 200 women in agri-processing capacities. She mentors women and employs a number of them who depend on the income they make to support their families. In view of her hard work, NBSSI collaborates with her as a service provider, ensuring that her products meet international standards, that enables her to export her products.

The rest of the award winners in their various categories are as follows:

Passion for Farmโ€” Portia Gban

She innovatesโ€” Gafaratu Fuseini

Climate Smart Women Projectโ€” Memuna Abdul Rahaman

Outstanding woman in extension servicesโ€” Leuzumah Rashida

The super Woman Farmerโ€” Alima Wahabu

Royal Agroโ€” Ayiesheitu Mahamadu Asaki

Diamond in the roughโ€” Saantuma Sala

Feed to Foodsโ€” Genevive Akugu

Change Champion Awardโ€” Asieme Elsie Azelikumah

Development Partnerโ€” Canada

Lady of the Export Regionโ€” Anita Sutha

Star Woman Agripreneurโ€” Mavis Alahire Aboko

She operatesโ€” Joy okrah

Princess Carlaโ€” Hawawu Gbahara

Gold in the Soilโ€” Portia Asumda

This year the Awards Scheme received 131 nominations from both Upper East and Upper West Region. Out of the number, 45 women were shortlisted and 14 awarded. A special Gold in the Soil award went to Canada as a development partner.

This year WOFAGRIC and Gold in the soil Award was in partnership with Canadian High Commission, ABSA Ghana and YARA, INTERPLAST, OCP AFRICA, PEG AFRICA, LUMINANT ELECTRICALS AND RDF GHANA.

Collaborating Institution included, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Women in Agriculture Development (WIAD) and the National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners Association (NFFAWAG).

The GOLD In the Soil AWARDS, is an annual awards scheme, solely dedicated to contribute in strengthening and projecting a paradigm shift of celebrating women farmers, processors, marketers and women who are playing a role within the agricultural value chain, including women into Transportation, packaging, Technology, input dealers, etc. The Awards moves from Region to Region yearly to search for these extraordinary women who contribute significantly to putting food on our tables daily. Their story is shared and broadcasted through a documentary series produced by Agrihouse Foundation.

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.