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 23rd to the 24th of June 2021 at the Akayet Hotel, Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region, under the theme: “Women in Agric- Surviving, Thriving and Making Waves Beyond the Pandemic.”

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.

“50% 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,” she highlighted.

The Foundation has also noted that majority of the women farmers who submitted entries are between ages 25-65years, “This 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,” 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 year’s event, “Surviving, Thriving and Making Waves beyond the Pandemic,” Ms. Akosa said, 2021 WOFAGRIC and Gold in the Soil Awards would explore ways to enhance women’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 – Development, of the Canadian Embassy, Ms. Stephanie Brunet, said, “The theme for this year’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.

“That 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 year’s event. We strongly believe that women are critical to the sustainability of Ghana’s agriculture and that successful women farmers deserved to be recognized for their achievement and contributions to the nation.”  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 year’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 – (Poultry, Livestock & Fisheries) and the ultimate, Gold in the Soil Award.

“We 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,” 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).

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.

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.

IRRIGATED AGRICULTURE AS A PATH FOR INCREASED FOOD PRODUCTION

IRRIGATED AGRICULTURE AS A PATH FOR INCREASED FOOD PRODUCTION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Governments Renewed Commitment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ethiopian example

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WOFAGRIC 2019: REWARDING EXCELLENCE, PARTNERING WOMEN TO SHAPE AGRIBUSINESS.

WOFAGRIC 2019: REWARDING EXCELLENCE, PARTNERING WOMEN TO SHAPE AGRIBUSINESS.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

ACTIVITIES FOR THE 2-DAY EVENT
Activities lined up to ensure that participants benefit optimally from the maiden edition of the initiative include:
– Leadership Training
– Mentorship & Guidance Dialogue
– Panel Discussion on Key Issues affecting women in Agribusiness
– Focused Training programmes for women seeking to venture into agriculture
– Empowerment Talk
– Exhibitions
– Documentary and Awards (Gold in the Soil Awards)

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

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

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

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

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

c) The WOFAGRIC Awards (Gold in the Soil Awards)
Gold in the Soil Awards: The awards sessions aim at recognizing and rewarding outstanding women in Agriculture. A documentary on activities and impact of these women will be produced to be to be aired on TV and social media platforms to showcase the works of these women and an award ceremony, organized to celebrate them

The Awards will have fourteen (14) categories:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

RMG GHANA EDUCATES STUDENTS ON CAREER OPPORTUNITIES IN AGRIBUSINESS AT AG-STUD

RMG GHANA EDUCATES STUDENTS ON CAREER OPPORTUNITIES IN AGRIBUSINESS AT AG-STUD

RMG Ghana Limited, a leading agricultural Input dealership company gave Agric students in eleven tertiary institutions across the country practical orientation on their Livingfields Vegetable Farm at the just ended Agric Students Career Guidance and Mentorship Dialogue (Ag-Stud)

The program which was organised by Agrihouse Foundation in partnership with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture brought a number of stakeholders along the value chain of agribusiness to interact with students studying Agriculture in the various tertiary institutions across the country over at a three-day bootcamp.

The day one of the program saw students taken on a field trip to RMG Ghana’s Livingfields at Asutsuare in the Eastern Region of Ghana for practical orientation on how students can find a place in agribusiness after graduating.

At the field, participants were led by Farm Manager of Livingfields, Mr. Dennins Nkrumah

 

Introducing them to the RMG Livingfields Program, Mr. Nkrumah indicated that the project which covers a 100-acre plot of land seeks to engage and prepare graduate farmers who have the interest to go into agribusiness for the job market, either as quality employees of existing agric firms or successful entrepreneurs in the sector

“When they come, practically we have something on the ground and so we are going to harmonise theory with practice and also organise lecture series from specialized areas to ensure that, an individual after staying in livingfields gets the capability of replicating everything leant and go further top start business”

He also indicated that “the Livingfields also serves as research grounds for determining the validity and efficacy of products before the company makes them available to the market.”

Taking into consideration the kind of harsh condition in which farmers operate, he said, “the Livingfields has been built with those conditions factored in so that after inputs are passed from the field, they do not fall short when sold to the market”.

One of the student asked why the field was not blocked in typical research field fashion to ensure accuracy of data.  

To this, Mr. Martin Nartey (Commercial manager) indicated that the research was not one meant to necessarily collate data for the public but to test the effectiveness of input to guide RMG Ghana in their sales and recommendations to customers and so did not necessarily require blocking.

After the Livingfields experience, Managing Director of RMG Ghana, Mr. Williams Kotey lectured participant on the theme: ‘What Agric Industry Players Expect from New Graduates’.

He began his presentation by outlining the various business opportunities in the agribusiness chain from production, processing, through to the final consumer. He also emphasized on the role of information technology (I.T) in the agribusiness processes in production, marketing etc.

“There are so many opportunities in agribusiness and so what matters is graduate farmers identifying their passion, understanding their competence and what gives them satisfaction because the value chain is long to meet such aspirations”

“There are opportunities in postharvest, warehousing, technology and even teaching and so it all depends on what the graduate farmer wants” he added.

With the goal of preparing the graduate for the job market, Mr. Kotey indicated that “employees are attracted to job seekers who have a clear idea of what they have to offer their organisation and therefore know their worth by way of remuneration”.

RMG not seeking to be employer but to develop talents worth employing.

He also indicated that without passion and zeal, it’d be difficult to excel in Agribusiness and so graduate must love Agric and go the extra mile to keep themselves informed on the nitigrities of the sector. He added that RMG Ghana aims to develop talents who will be worth employing or be innovative to start-up their own business.

Speaking after the exercise, Mr. Albert Appiah Amoako, Vice Principal of Kwadaso Agricultural College expressed his excitement at the opportunity afforded the student to acquire knowledge on the practical aspect of what they are taught.

According to him, the experience will not only develop the interest of students in agribusiness, but also make them attach importance to what they are taught in school and apply them.

“We are grateful to Agrihouse Foundation for the opportunity given our students to experience the practical aspect of what we teach them in the classroom”

 “We will encourage them to put everything they leant into practice and replicate everything they have learnt on campus and continue to conduct tracer studies to find out how they are applying what” they have learnt even after completing the cause”

He called on Agrihouse to expand the program to give participation opportunities to more students because it will play a key role in drawing graduate into agribusiness.