Women in agric to be recognised for contributions to sector

Efforts to recognise the contributions of women to agriculture has received a boost with the launch of the Women in Food and Agricultural Leadership Training Forum and the Gold in the Soil Awards.

The award, the third in the series, is slated for June 23 to 24, 2021 at Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region on the theme “Women in Agric – Swimming, Thriving and Making Waves beyond the Pandemic.”

An initiative of Agrihouse Foundation, an organisation with the objective to promote agribusiness, the programme is meant to reward women engaged in agriculture and bring their businesses to the limelight.

The programme to be organised by Agrihouse Foundation in collaboration with the Women in Agricultural Development (WIAD) under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture is sponsored by Canada and supported by Absa and Yara.

Speaking at the launch, the Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa said WOFAGRIC was established in 2019 to enable women to develop their agricultural skills, motivate, mentor and build upon their capabilities to become independent.

Ms Akosa explained that agriculture remained integral to the economic growth of the country, adding that “presently women make up 43.1 per cent of economically active population, with a great number working in farming, but women continue to face challenges in areas of transportation, innovative marketing approaches, limited access to funds and market.”

“With this theme and focus this year, Agrihouse seeks to enable women in agribusiness to develop, improve and sustain new agricultural practices and as well thrive to develop their business within this pandemic era and beyond,” she said.

The Executive Director disclosed that this year, Agrihouse was  receiving nominations for the Gold in the Soil Awards, from both Upper East and Upper West region, adding “This is the first time the Foundation is opening up nominations in such a way to allow more women from culturally diverse backgrounds an opportunity to participate in the awards scheme.”

She said the programme would involve mentorship sessions, training and presentation and soft skills training, workshops.

Ms Akosa said the Gold in the Soil Award was 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.

The others are Feed to Food Awards – (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-Operates Award.

The Executive Director said the objectives of the award were to promote networking among women achievers in agribusiness and propel them to do more collectively, showcase the efforts of women agripreneurs, and celebrate their achievements towards economic growth of their communities and country.

She indicated that in 2020, at the end of the two-day event, 25 per cent of women who were not into agribusiness had decided to start 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 businesses,” Ms Akosa said.

She expressed gratitude to this year’s sponsors for supporting the programme.

The Deputy Director of Operations at the Canadian High Commission, Stephanie Brunet congratulated Agrihouse for two similar events previously held in the Volta and Ashanti regions in 2019 and 2020 respectively.

She 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 chain, particularly for women farmers.

“Canada is glad to be part of this event, which would explore ways to enhance women’s resilience and recovery from the effects of the pandemic,” she said.

BY KINGSLEY ASARE

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