WOFAGRIC OPENS TODAY

WOFAGRIC OPENS TODAY

About 500 women have registered to participate in the maiden edition of the Women in Food and Agricultural Leadership Forum & Expo (WOFAGRIC) and Gold in the Soil Awards, scheduled to begin from 12th – 13th of June, 2019, at Chances Hotel, Ho, Volta Region.

This event is the first of its kind in the agricultural sector for the recognition of women and their immeasurable contribution in agribusiness.

The two-day event themed; Women! Key Partners in Shaping Agribusiness is expected to empower, encourage and reward the efforts of women in Agribusiness. WOFAGRIC seeks to recognize the contribution of women in the Agricultural sector, support their innovations and empower others to venture into the sector. This event’s aim is to give women a voice, offer them a platform and champion the cause of the Agric businesswoman. It would also serve as a means of bridging the gender inequality gap in the agriculture sector and provide women with an array of opportunities for networking.

As part of its contribution towards the two-day event, the Canadian embassy has made a commitment to provide funding and technical support. The 1st secretary-Development High Commission of Canada to Ghana, Marie Claude Harvey 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 businesses and expand.”

Mentorship and training sessions by YARA Ghana, Sidalco, Interplast and ADB; sponsors of the event, would encourage and empower women who want to venture into agribusiness. There would also be a session where women would be trained on the processing of rice milk, tiger nut powder, groundnut and cocoa powder so that they can be self-sufficient with the skills they would acquire at the event.

Gold in the Soil Awards, a core component of the programe will recognize and reward outstanding women who have made significant contributions in agribusiness. The Gold in the soil award received over 50 nominations since nominations opened and is spread across fourteen(14) categories that include; Passion for Farm Award, She Innovates Award, Super Woman Award, Women in Extension Services, Star in Ag Awards, Diamond in the Rough Awards, Feed to Food Award, Change Champion Award, Royal Agro Award (Queen mothers), Lady of the Region Export Award, Climate Smart Women Project awards, Princess “Carla Denizard” Award, Development Partner Award and the most coveted Gold in the Soil Award.

According to Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa, Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, “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”. This event would put women in the forefront and also acknowledge their achievements and contributions to the growth of their community and the nation as a whole.”

WOFAGRIC Partners in the agriculture sector include Women in Agricultural development (WIAD), National Farmers & Fishermen Award Winners’ Association and AGRA. International partners include Brazilian Embassy, Embassy of Israel, USAID’s ADVANCE PROJECT, Netherlands Embassy and USAD Amplified.

WOFAGRIC is expected to move to a different region every year, offering women all over the country an equal chance to be encouraged and celebrated.

GOLD IN THE SOIL AWARDS RECEIVES FIFTY (50) NOMINATIONS

GOLD IN THE SOIL AWARDS RECEIVES FIFTY (50) NOMINATIONS

The award component of the first ever Women in Food and Agriculture Leadership Forum and Expo, dubbed Gold in the soil awards has received fifty (50) applications since nominations opened .

Billed under the theme: Women! Key Partners in Shaping Agribusiness, The two (2) day event is set to take place from Wednesday, June 12th -Thursday, June 13th, 2019 at the Stevens Hotel, Ho, Volta Region.

 

According to the organisers, 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. Intended to acknowledge pioneers and innovators who push the boundaries across the agribusiness value chain, the initiative will also seek to recognize and reward outstanding women who exemplify the can-do spirit of the Ghanaian.

 

The fourteen (14) award categories for nominations includes; Passion for the Farm Awards, She-innovates Award, The Super Woman Award, Climate-Smart Women Project Award, Woman in Extension Services Award, Star in Ag Award (Woman Agripreneur Award), Royal Agro Award (Queen mothers), Diamond in the rough award, Feed to Food Award, The Change Champion Award, Lady of the Region Export Award, Development Partner Award, Princess Carla Award and Gold in the Soil Award.

 

So far, fifty (50) nomination forms have been received from women across the country who are playing key roles in-line with the above listed award categories. About 80% are from the Volta region, the host region of the event. The ‘Gold in the Soil Award’ category has the most nomination. It has 40 nominations out of the 14 categories, and the other 10 nominations cuts across the other categories and regions.

 

The Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, Miss Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa expressed optimism that the time was right for the unsung heroes of agric to take centre stage.

  “we are glad to see how women in Agriculture nationwide and especially those in the Volta Region have embraced the 2019 WOFAGRIC event and are showing extreme interest and enthusiasm for the Gold in the Soil Awards. This is an indication that the WOFAGRIC/ Gold in the Soil Awards would become a sustainable platform for women in Agriculture to have a share of voice, 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 the Women in the Agricultural space. It is our sincere hope to scale it up yearly as it moves to other regions. “She stated.

The Women in Food and Agriculture leadership Forum and Expo/ Gold in the Soil Awards is an Agrihouse initiative designed in partnership with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Women In Agric Development (WIAD), National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners Association of Ghana (NFFAWAG) and the Volta Regional Coordinating Council.

Other activities lined up for the  2-day event include; panel discussions, training programs, mentorship dialogue, presentations, empowerment talk, mentor pair –up, exhibition and workshop.

In a statement, Chairman of the National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners Association (NFFAWAG) Mr. Davies Naah Korboe, said, the initiative will spur more women to strive for excellence in the industry.

“It is expected that the  ‘Gold in the Soil Awards would play a key role in projecting women who excel in the Agricultural space and pay tribute to the efforts and contributions by these women, young female ‘agripreneurs’, female students and women with disabilities for their roles towards ensuring food security, poverty alleviation, employment creation and ultimately helping the economy.”

Through the Gold in the Soil Awards and documentary, more light would be thrown on activities on women in the agric space, which would motivate other women to see role models in these accomplished ‘womenpreneurs’. This would spur them on to do more and serve as a challenge to others. In the long run, more women would be in the agric space helping create more employment.

WOFAGRIC 2019 purely focuses on building the capacity of Women-owned Smallholder agribusiness by showcasing their exhibitions, works, products and services .The event is expected to move to a different region every year, so all women can embrace and take advantage of the platform.

AGRISHOW 2019: MOFA / GIPC TOUTS GHANA’S POTENTIAL TO THE WORLD IN BRAZIL

AGRISHOW 2019: MOFA / GIPC TOUTS GHANA’S POTENTIAL TO THE WORLD IN BRAZIL

“He who craves greatness must consider the path trodden by the great.” This apt aphorism mirrors increased attempts by government to actively partner other nations, particularly those who are standout agric powerhouses.

Today, globalization has opened a window of opportunity for collaboration and partnerships that if properly harnessed, has the potential to significantly bridge the gapping dichotomy that currently exists between Ghana and other great agric nations.

This narrative was recently demonstrated when the Embassy of Brazil, Agrihouse Foundation and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture led a strong Ghanaian contingent to participate in the 26th edition of Agrishow in Ribeirao Preto, Brazil.

 

Led by the Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture, Hon. Sagre Bambangi and Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa, the Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, the high-powered delegation comprised; Ghana Investment Promotion Council, Ghana Commodity Exchange, Jospong Group, Accra Company and Recycling and Ghana Commercial Agric Project.

 

As the showpiece wore on, the Ghanaian delegation had the opportunity to make an investment presentation to the world’s topmost agribusiness investors.

 In a  presentation under the theme: Investment Opportunities In The Agriculture Sector, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture espoused the mammoth opportunities available to investors in the form of lands for farming, government policy intervention, strategic areas for investment and incentives provided by government for investors in Ghana.

“With an estimated 13.5 million hectors of agricultural lands, only 50% has been cultivated; which implies that investors have access to almost seven million uncultivated lands to choose from. Of the 50% cultivated land, only 31,000, representing 2% has been irrigated and so irrigation presents a very viable option for investments.”

“ With an Agricultural Sector consisting of Crop, Livestock, Forestry/Logging and Fishing, crop dominates the sector with 74%, followed by Livestock; Forestry & Logging; and Fisheries at 10%; 9; and 6%, respectively as far as their contribution to GDP is concerned. Ghana provides the perfect environment for investors to thrive because aside being one of the most politically stable on the continent, Ghana has consistently demonstrated the political will and quality leadership necessary for the preservation of investor interests.”

The presentation also took into account Ghana’s excellent air and sea port facilities which makes traveling and transportation of goods and services in and outside the country a lot easier.

“Traveling time from Europe (6hrs) and America (9hrs) to Ghana is considerably shorter and therefore makes the fair as much as 60% cheaper than that of many countries on the continent and some other parts of the world. Ghana also has favourable agric and investment policies that safeguards the investor and guarantees profitability.

 

Similarly, government has tailored policies that gives investors in agric a period of exemption from taxes depending on what is being planted, tax waiver on imported items and upon expiration of these periods, a location based tax system is applied in order to give investors who go on to the hinterlands and hence further away from the capital and extra funds to offset the cost of doing business in such areas. Investors in Tree Planting and cattle ranching get a tax holiday of 10 years whereas Cash Crops, Poultry, Fish Farming and Agro-Processing get exempted from paying taxes for five years.”

 

The ministry further informed the gathering that companies in the Northern Part of Ghana which is one of the best places for rice farming comes with 5% income tax while companies in Greater Accra, the nation’s capital and Tema attracts 20% income tax.

“Regional capitals attract income tax of 15% and 10% for companies outside the regionals capitals. We also provide exemption of custom duties on agricultural machinery and agricultural inputs. These incentives are meant to ensure that the investor makes profit and expand the business because it is by so doing that jobs can be created for country’s teeming youth population. We have existing rice mills with installed capacity and available lands in the Accra plains conducive for rice production and presence of water for irrigation purposes and areas in the Northern part of Ghana.”

 

Ghana is the best destination for investors- GIPC 

The Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC) led by the Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Carl Nelson used the Agrishow Platform to show the rest of the world the competitive advantage Ghana offers investors and why it is the country of choice for investors.

In its Presentation, GIPC provided key statistics that underscores Ghana’s political stability.

 

“Ghana has a 27 year old sustained democracy, held five successful and peaceful elections and changed leadership from one political party to the other held five successful elections, three peaceful transitions and has a lower crime rate compared to most part of the continent.”

GIPC also took participants through the process of acquiring a business permit in Ghana.

“A Joint Venture with a Ghanaian partner required a minimum capital of Two Hundred Thousand Dollars minimum capital requirement, 100% foreign owned come with Five Hundred Thousand Dollars minimum capital whereas Trading Activity engaging a minimum of twenty skilled Ghanaians requires a minimum capital of one million dollars. Whereas other countries try to put limit on percentage of profit that can be repatriated, Ghana allows investors to repatriates 100% of their profit without any hindrance. These requirements and policy flexibilities makes Ghana one of the best investment destinations on the globe.”

GIPC and MoFA were part of 5 organizations that represented Ghana at this year’s Agrishow. To widen the scope of networking opportunities, a number of separate meetings were arranged for each Organisation by Agrihouse Foundation, the liaison organisation between Ghana and Brazil for the event.

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture and GIPC met with: Foreign Trade Chambers Federation, Association of Cocoa Processing Industry, PERFARM, BNDES, ABAG, Banco do Brazil, Agtech, Agres and Silomas.

Most potential investors expressed interest in doing business in Ghana with concrete agreements reached to see the first batch of investors visit the country in June while a second group will follow in September this year.

Agrishow is the World’s third largest Agric trade event and arguably the most important agricultural technology trade show in the world. It brings together agricultural solutions for all types of agribusiness and related sector needs.

Agrihouse Foundation, Ghana’s leading pro-agric event firm served as the liaison organization between the Embassy of Brazil, Ghana and the organizers for the 2019 edition of Agrishow in partnership with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

With over 800 national and international brands from different investment segments across the globe participating, the Ghanaian contingent had a unique opportunity to meet and create mutually beneficial partnership with peers along the value chain of agribusiness.

The global agric showpiece was a gathering of all who matter in agribusiness around the globe. It revolved around the goal of identifying new investment opportunities, groundbreaking technologies, partners and acquiring requisite knowledge to succeed.

 

 

The event highlighted the latest products, services and technology supporting the entire value chain in agribusiness and provided the Ghanaian delegation a pool of opportunities for networking and knowledge transfer. 

The Ghanaian delegation comprised of persons drawn from: Government Agencies, Organisations, Investors, Poultry and Livestock, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Producers, Packaging and Processing, Producers, Inputs Dealers, ICT, Finance and individuals with interest in the industry. 

The event provided a wonderful opportunity for the Ghanaian delegation particularly those looking to enhance their businesses through strategic partnerships, networking and exchange of ideas.

During the course of the four day event, the team participated in event activities like:

  • Exhibitions
  • Field Trips and Demonstrations
  • Business Presentations and Investments
  • Business – to – Business Meetings
  • Formal Technical and Practical Training workshops and conferences

The 4-day event hosted over one hundred and sixty thousand visitors and is largely considered an improvement on the last edition which saw $808 million businesses initiated participants.

The host nation, Brazil is a major producer of a myriad of agricultural commodities like soya beans, maize, cotton, oranges and poultry meat- a feat achieved through exceptional national commitment to innovation and hard work.

Brazil’s transition from a country with an underdeveloped agricultural sector setting to one of the words breadbasket is an incredible feat that demonstrates how much of an impact a country can achieve through a deliberate effort to revolutionise agriculture.

While a national approach to agricultural excellence was key to getting the country this far, the country’s success is mostly attributable to the significant improvement in productivity made possible through the development of farming inputs relevant to the countries unique ecosystem. 

Though the country’s arable landmass has remained unchanged since the mid 1970’s, production has soared by as much as 300% -a rate believed to be faster than that recorded by other agriculturally successful nations like the United States, Canada and Netherlands.

AGRIHOUSE FOUNDATION AND MOFA LEAD DELEGATION TO AGRISHOW IN BRAZIL

AGRIHOUSE FOUNDATION AND MOFA LEAD DELEGATION TO AGRISHOW IN BRAZIL

Agrihouse Foundation and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture are currently in Ribeirao, Brazil with a strong Ghanaian contingent to participate in the 26th edition of Agrishow.

A 17-Memner Delegation, led by the Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture, Hon. Sagre Bambangi and Alberta Akyaa Akosa, the Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation are in the South American country to represent Ghana at the event.

 Representatives from, Ghana Investment Promotion Council, Ghana Commodity Exchange, Jospong Group, Accra Company and Recycling and Ghana Commercial Agric Project left the country over the weekend to be part of the annual agric showpiece.

Agrishow is the World’s third largest Agric trade event and arguably the most important agricultural technology trade show in the world. It brings together agricultural solutions for all types of agribusiness and related sector needs.

With over 800 national and international brands from different investment segments across the globe participating, the Ghanaian contingent has a unique opportunity to meet and create mutually beneficial partnership with peers along the agribusiness value chain.

  This year’s event will highlight all the latest products, services and technology that is available to stakeholders in the world of agriculture.

Participants from Ghana are drawn from, Government Agencies, Organisations, Investors, Poultry and Livestock, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Producers, Packaging and Processing, Producers, Inputs Dealers, ICT, Finance and individuals with interest in the agric industry .  

The conceptual undertone for the event this year will position the Ghanaian delegation for greater impact. Particularly for those looking to enhance their businesses through strategic partnerships, networking and exchange of ideas, Ghana has the platform to draw the rest of the world’s attention to the investment opportunities in the country’s agribusiness industry

The team will during the course of the four day event participate in:

  • Exhibitions
  • Field Trips and Demonstrations
  • Business Presentations and Investments
  • Business – to – Business Meetings
  • Formal Technical and Practical Training workshops and conferences

The 4-day event is expected to host over one hundred and sixty thousand visitors-an improvement on the $808 million businesses initiated last year at the fair- to create opportunities for participants to make new contacts and promote their brands.

What this means is that Agrishow is going to be a gathering of all who matter in agribusiness around globe with a solitary goal of identifying new investment opportunities, groundbreaking technologies, partnerships and acquiring requisite knowledge to succeed.

 Ghana will have the opportunity to make an investment presentation to the world’s topmost investors in agribusiness on Thursday May 2nd 2019.

The private companies participating will also get to meet peers from other parts of the world looking for collaborations and partnerships around the world.

On route to Brazil, Hon. Sagre had this to say “We are going to Brazil to sell to the rest of the world the good news about investing in Agribusiness in Ghana and we believe the world will have no choice than to look at Ghana.”

He indicated that with government’s commitment towards changing agriculture in the country and using it as a tool for improving the livelihood of the people, there so much to share to the world and so the event could not have done at a better tone.

Mrs Akosa assured delegates of her organization’s commitment towards ensuring their comfort and access to all the information and contacts needed to make the trip successful.

Agrihouse Foundation, Ghana’s leading pro-agric event firm is the liaison organization between Ghana and the organizers for the 2019 edition of Agrishow.

The delegation is expected to return on the 4th of May 2019.

PLANTING FOR EXPORT AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (PERD): A PERSPECTIVE

PLANTING FOR EXPORT AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (PERD): A PERSPECTIVE

Annually the value of imported food into the country stands at a whopping US $2.4 billion. Key products that are imported are frozen chicken, meat, and rice, tomato paste, cooking oil, sugar and sorghum.  “At US$2.4 billion, the cost of food imports is about a quarter of the value of non-oil imports, which closed 2017 at US$10.66 billion,” the Daily Graphic newspaper recently reported.

This huge amount of imports is a major concern and it has many unpremeditated effects. Business people who import the food need foreign currency (usually US dollars) to pay their suppliers abroad and this puts pressure on the local cedi leading to volatilities. Paying for these suppliers abroad means farmers and agro-business people in those foreign supplier countries stay in business and create more jobs. But locally, our farmers cannot compete and are thrown out of business. The recent dip in the value of the cedi is perfect example of the negative implications of unbridled import.

In the words of Henry Kerali, World Bank country director for Ghana, “Agriculture is an important contributor to Ghana’s export earnings, and a major source of inputs for the manufacturing sector. It is also a major source of income for a majority of the population, but we have seen a recent reduction in growth in agriculture, which needs to be reversed through appropriate policies and increased investments.”

This call by the Mr. Kerali seems to have found the listening ears of no less an entity than the central government.

This is demonstrated in the newly inaugurated Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) programme which is expected enhance the country’s foreign exchange-earning capacity and generate jobs.

According to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo the new programme will ensure that Ghana’s economic fundamentals are restructured in the right shape.
Speaking at the launch of PERD, a module under the government’s Planting for Food and Jobs programme, the President said his government will be committed to developing a designated list of tree crops, all of which are grown in Ghana but are currently non-traditional exports.

He further noted that PERD, which is tailored towards increasing cultivation of foods such as cashew nuts and mangoes, presents Ghana with opportunities for diversifying her economy and will open up new revenue streams even as
the government the makes effort  to establish an institution to regulate tree crop development in the country.

“A draft bill for the development of the tree crop sector will shortly be approved by cabinet, prior to its submission to Parliament.
“The bill, when passed by Parliament, will establish the Tree Crop Development Authority (TCDA). The proposed Authority will provide policy direction and regulation for the development of the sector,” he assured.

Four crops are covered in the draft law: cashew nuts, oil palm, rubber and shea. It is hoped that two more will boost the final legislation and bring the total to six – coconuts and coffee.

Programme Overview

The Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) Programme is a decentralized National Tree Crop Programme to promote rural economic growth and improve household incomes of rural farmers through the provision of certified improved seedlings, extension services, business support and regulatory mechanisms.

To create a legacy towards the realization of the Ghana Beyond Aid Agenda, the Government of Ghana through the joint effort by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and Ministry of Food and Agriculture rolled out the PERD programme to develop nine (9) commodity value chains namely Cashew, Coffee, Cotton Coconut, Citrus, Oil Palm, Mango, Rubber and Shea through a decentralized system.

The programme seeks to create sustainable raw material base to spur up the decentralized industrialization drive through One District Factory initiative. The 5-year PERD programme will support 1million farmers in 170 districts with certified free planting materials to cover over one (1) million hectares of farmlands and engage 10,000 young graduates as crop specialized extension officers.
The President noted that aside from the benefit of a diversified revenue base for Ghana, PERD will link agriculture to industry by providing a solid raw material base for industrialization will also help develop rural economies and support the structural transformation of the economy.

“The selection of crops in each district depends upon the ecological zone,” he announced. “The initial effort in preparation of the PERD has met with resounding success, with the establishment of nurseries all over the country.
“In the initial years of the programme, a total of 32,591 hectares will be planted with the tree crops in 191 districts.

“Some seedlings have been displayed at this event today. The enthusiasm with which the district chief executives have embraced the PERD is very commendable, and the intense interest clearly indicates that leadership of the programme at the local level is assured.”

He said with the government having revamped agriculture, PERD will complement other flagship policies and programmes such as One Village, One Dam, One District, One Factory and One District, One Warehouse to provide a historical opportunity to change the direction of agriculture in Ghana.

Other institutional measures such as the Ghana Commodity Exchange, the Ghana Incentive-based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (GIRSAL) and a refocusing of the mandate of the Agricultural Development Bank are being rolled out to support the government’s transformation agenda, President Akufo-Addo said.

He expressed confidence that once all these initiatives are serving their purpose, his government’s bold approach will be vindicated.
“The overarching vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid is not mere rhetoric, nor political gimmickry. As a government, we are determined through action to achieve this vision, and today’s programme is a clear indication of our genuine commitment.

According to a 2018 World Bank report dubbed “The Third Economic Update, Agriculture as an Engine of Growth and Jobs Creation”, the agriculture sector’s potential to be one of the leading sectors for a more diversified is clear as the light of day.

“The economy is again rapidly expanding,” said Michael Geiger, World Bank senior economist and co-author of the report. “There is need to channel public resources into research to increase the use of technology, invest in irrigation infrastructure to increase productivity and mitigate the potential adverse effects of climate change, and leverage increased private sector investment in agriculture,”

One challenge, the report notes, is the weak legal and regulatory framework for attracting private sector investment into agriculture. According to the 2017 World Bank’s Enabling the Business of Agriculture (EBA) report , reforms are needed to improve the quality and efficiency of regulatory systems that govern access to key agricultural factors such as seed, fertilizer, machinery, finance, markets, transport and information and communication technologies. While the Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) program is a step in the right direction, the enthusiasm that was noticeable among key stakeholders during the launch must not fizzle out any time soon. Indeed we expect government and other relevant stakeholders to sustain the policy through practical input that are relevant and responsive to 21st century dynamics. This way, we can genuinely expect to reap the optimum dividends of what is clearly an ingenious policy direction for Ghanaian agriculture.