Monthly Archives: July 2020

The Gold in the Soil Awards and its impact on women in Agriculture

In a bid to appreciate, support and encourage women in Ghana’s agriculture sector of, Agri–house foundation has launched the Women in Food and Agricultural (WOFAGRIC) leadership forum and the Gold in the Soil Awards. This is an annual event and this year is the second edition.

Earlier this year, the 2020 edition was launch on the theme: “Transforming and Sustaining women in agriculture; the role of public, private and development partners”.

WOFAGRIC forms part of efforts to empower women, promote their works, expand their horizon, recognize and award their works as well as inspire other women to venture into agriculture and all its related lucrative value chain.

It also provides a medium through which women in agriculture are supported in the areas of knowledge sharing, information dissemination, training, financial resourcing and technical resourcing.

The aim of WOFAGRIC is to provide a platform for women who have made great strides in Agriculture to network, share risk management tools that will help set operations up for future success, and to award women for outstanding contributions.

The GOLD IN THE SOIL AWARDS on the other hand is a special women-focused awards that brings to the lime-light women working, thriving and excelling in the field of agriculture.

The award pay tribute to the efforts and contribution by agri-industry women who have shone bright in roles as corporate leaders, innovators, extension officers, climate-smart agriculture champions and traditional leaders.

The award seeks to appreciate the outstanding achievements of a women producing along the entire agricultural value chain (from production through processing, branding to marketing etc). It also looks at women who are exporting their products and their establishment/business making a recognizable impact on the communities they live.

This year’s awards are open to women aged 18 and above from every district in the Ashanti Region and it is scheduled to take place in Kumasi on 6th to 7th August 2020.

The Awards are spread across the following 15 categories – a deliberate design aimed at reward as many women as are deserving of recognition.

  • Passion for the Farm Award,
  • 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)
  • Diamond in the Rough Award
  • Feed to Food Awards – (Poultry, Livestock & Fisheries)
  • The Change Champion Award
  • Lady of the Region Export Award
  • Development Partner Award
  • Princess Carla Award
  • She-Operates
  • Royal Agro Award (Queen mothers)
  • Gold in the Soil Award

Passion for the Farm Awards

The award recognizes a woman who is excited and passionate about agribusiness and contributing to the growth of her community, creating jobs, mentoring girls in the community and supporting them to take up agric, both small scale and large scale – it’s the passion that is central. This award cuts across crop farmers, vegetable farmers, livestock, and fisheries farmers.

She-Innovates Award

This goes to a woman who has or is working with the power of innovation and adding value to her agro business. She identifies a challenge within the community and the value chain and finds a solution through innovation. It could be adding value to a product, through processing or identifying a creative means of preservation or developing an appropriate technology to provide a particular solution

Climate-Smart Women Project Award

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 the community. This project must be seen to be solving a real challenge and create tangible results.

Outstanding Woman in Extension Services Award

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.

The Super Woman Farmer 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.

Star Woman Agripreneur Award (Woman Agripreneur Award)

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. Royal Agro Award

This award is set aside for 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 Award

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 Food Awards – (Poultry, Livestock & Fisheries)

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. This person should have made a series of significant selfless contributions with a long-lasting benefit to the Livestock, Poultry or Fisheries sector.

The Change Champion Award

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.

Lady of the Region Export Award

This category recognizes and rewards the region’s most successful and innovative woman exporter, with regards to the size of the business and the export sales.

Development Partner Award

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.

Princess Carla Award

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

She-Operates

This Award recognizes 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.

Gold in the Soil Award

This is the ultimate Award. The award seeks to appreciate the outstanding achievements of a woman producing along the entire agricultural value chain (from production through processing, branding to marketing etc). Exporting her products would be an added advantage. Her establishment/business should have made a recognizable impact on her community.

Telling Impact of the Award Scheme

Agri-house Foundation and her organizing partners have made significant impact since the maiden edition in 2019.

A post event appraisal of the main objectives for the initiative proves that success has been achieved across board.

About 43 women have so far made inroads into full time commercial farming or made attempts to expand the capacity of their enterprises owing to the experience garnered at WOFAGRIC 2109.

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 effective book-keeping drills participants were introduced to have yielded fruits. A post- event assessment carried out 3 months after the event last year revealed that a significant number of women present at the event in 2019 have now been able to access loan facilities to support their farms and businesses.

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 proper documentation tips to export their produce. So far about 13 women have begun processes leading to their ability to begin exportation.

The role modeling and mentoring sessions created business networking opportunities for attendees. Some of the mentees have had their mentors evaluate their business models and periodically give business advice to these women who are being mentored at no fee.

The ‘New Normal’ Agricultural Industry

The unprecedented forced change being experienced by the world means we must all embrace the ‘new normal’. Indeed the agribusiness world has been altered significantly with people unable to congregate en mass for conferences and business meetings.

While crop production has gained some stability around the country, prices are only slowly being adjusted downwards following spikes influenced by an inter-city lockdown that stifled the movement of crops from the fields to the market.

Within the agricultural value chain, the pervasive effect of the pandemic has and continues to have a telling effect on actors – plundering the investment of many.

This has necessitated a paradigm shift in how business and other related activities are conducted within the local agricultural sector.

The onus is therefore on all stakeholders to accept the ‘new normal’ and work out practical modalities to ensure that the entire industry comes to appreciate the need to innovate in order to remain afloat and relevant in business.

Opportunities despite the Muddle
Though business and related activities have not fared greatly for agric-industry practitioners, the story is not one of total gloom.

The indomitable Ghanaian spirit and a knack to innovate are a potent mix of what is required to overcome.

While women practitioners are some of the hardest hit from the fallout of the pandemic, there still pool of opportunities that can be innovatively taken advantage of to ensure that we collectively get the industry back on its feet.

Specifically women can take advantage of the following basic methodologies to revive their agro enterprises and ensure continued relevance:

Invest in High-Yield Crops
To survive the economic challenges that the world will have to grapple with in the foreseeable future, women agri-prenuers must deliberately identify high yielding crops and invest in same.

Most women in Ghana are breadwinners so it is important to ensure a steady supply of resources for the upkeep of the home.

Boost Irrigation
With the growing effects of climate change on weather patterns, more irrigation will be needed. Average yields in irrigated farms are 90% higher than those of nearby rain-fed farms.

This means women in areas with sparse rainfall must rely heavily on irrigation for expansion. This will guarantee bountiful yield and ensure seamless supply of income to livelihood and business growth.

Increase the Use of Fertilizers
As soil fertility deteriorates, fertilizer use must increase. Women need to ensure the right type of fertilizers are used, and at the right times.

Fertilizer education lessens the environmental impact and an analysis of such some training programs in East Africa found they boosted average incomes by 61 percent.

Make Better Use of Information Technology
Information technology can support better crop, fertilizer and pesticide selection. It also improves land and water management, provides access to weather information, and connects farmers to sources of credit.

Women in the industry will have to improve understanding of new technology and rely on same to make the most of agriculture.

Reliance on technology will help give women-farmers information about crop prices in different markets among other benefits and consequently increased their bargaining power during and post Covid-19.

Explore genetically modified (GM) crops
The adoption of GM crops in Africa and indeed Ghana remains limited. But with the fallout of the pandemic and Africa’s rapid population growth, high-yield GM crops that are resistant to weather shocks provide an opportunity for women actively participate in efforts to address food insecurity as well as securing their livelihoods and investments.

An analysis of more than one hundred studies found that GM crops reduced pesticide use by 37 percent, increased yields by 22 percent, and farmer profits by 68 percent.

Step up integration into Agricultural Value Chains (AVCs)
Women groups must support and coordinate the integration of smallholder farmers into larger cooperatives and groups to help with value chain penetration.

It is important that women move progressively towards a more diversified area of dominance instead of the prevailing reliance on traditional cash crops and areas of investments.

Hurdles on the pathway (Challenges)
Despite their central importance to agriculture, which sees women produce a great chunk of our food, women are confronted by age-old challenges that could be further exacerbated by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and its attendant disruptions.

Research suggests that, about 80 percent of agricultural production comes from small-scale farmers, who are mostly rural women. This means no effort should be spared in putting women in good stead to thrive in the industry as this ultimately has ripple – effects on the society.

Training is crucial
The training of rural women is very important, especially with the adoption of modern agricultural techniques that are tailored to local conditions and that use natural resources in a sustainable manner, with a view to achieving economic development without degrading the environment.

The traditional and sometimes obsolete farming practices must give way to new forward-looking practices that will consequently lead to improved livelihood for these women and their dependents.

Training efforts must be backed by the provision of extension services, storage facilities, rural infrastructure (roads, electricity, and information and communication technologies), access to markets and access to credit, as well as supporting organizations and farmer cooperatives.

This will ensure that the impact of training schemes is felt by the farmers- and in extension the society.

A commitment to training women farmers is a guaranteed means of breaking the vicious cycle that leads to rural poverty. Because of the nurturing role that women play in families, any intellectual investment made goes a long way to help build the capacity of several individual in society.

Affirmative action
Practicable affirmative action is by far one of the surest ways of safeguarding the interest of women in agriculture.

Instead of intermittent interventions, a solid affirmative action roadmap will go a long way to ensure that concrete success is achieved in efforts to improve the lot of women who have committed themselves to working hard to feed the country through the noble art of farming.

Networks operating in rural areas, especially rural women’s organizations are crucial to the conception of development programs.

These organizations must partner in crafting any policies for women farmers as experience has shown that contributions from such actors are often invaluable.

A number of other changes will strengthen women’s contributions to agricultural production and sustainability.

These include support for investment in rural areas in order to improve women’s living and working conditions; giving priority to technological development policies targeting rural and farm women’s needs and recognizing their knowledge, skills and experience in the production of food and the conservation of biodiversity; and assessing the negative effects and risks of farming practices and technology, including pesticides on women’s health, and taking measures to reduce use and exposure.

Post Covid-19 and Beyond: Assessing and Understanding the Challenges and Opportunities for Women in Agriculture

The tumultuous impact of Covid-19 around the world is no longer news. A new decade that began with overwhelming optimism soon dissipated in the face of socio-economic desolation visited on the world by the pandemic.

The consequence of the pandemic according to local economists has left Ghana’s socio-economic foundation wobbly-impacting many crucial industries.

Agriculture, the lifeblood of the economy has not been spared the brunt of the marauding pandemic .Covid-19 has sank its manifold fangs deep into the agro-value chain system-ensuring that food security and other positive milestones recently chalked could soon be upturned.

Following rallying calls by government for all to put their shoulders to the wheel in safeguarding what’s left of the economy, Agri-house Foundation has identified women as a cardinal pivot for this-particularly through agriculture.

This is demonstrated by a panel discussion segment dedicated to Assessing and understanding the challenges and opportunities for women in Agriculture Post Covid-19 and beyond at the Women in Food and Agric Leadership Training Forum & Expo (WOFAGRIC 2020) and the Gold in the Soil Awards event.

The event slated for August 6-7, 2020 at the Golden Bean Hotel, Kumasi, Ashanti region will feature a webinar segment this year to ensure the immense emphasis placed on social distancing as a key measure in the prevention of covid-19 is guaranteed.

Since its inception, the event has fueled a renewed sense of advocacy, recognition and capacity improvement for women who operate within the agriculture value chain.

The annual event is Agrihouse’s expert opinion sharing, mentoring, networking and learning platform for women in agriculture, agripreneurs, key stakeholders, development partners, researchers, farmer groups, government agencies, businesses, civil society, investment and professional advisors and corporate leaders.

The affirmative action driven initiative forms part of efforts to empower women, promote their works, expand their horizon, provide recognize and award their works and further mentor and inspire other women to venture into Agribusiness.

The event also serves as a leadership building, soft skills and competence-based training platform that recognizes, encourages and empowers small holder women farmers and women agripreneurs through motivational, training and mentoring sessions.

It also recognizes and celebrate the social, economic cultural and agricultural achievements of women, support the advance women entrepreneurship, inspire and build role models, motivate and develop business skills, champion change and innovation, support in breaking down gender stereotype while building economic independence and security, inspire change and ignite interest of women aspiring to go into agriculture and contribute in sowing seed for gender equality through agriculture.

Billed under the theme: Transforming and Sustaining Women in Agriculture: The Role of Public, Private and Development Partners, the event will also pay tribute to the efforts and contribution of women, young female ‘agripreneurs’, female students and women with disabilities for their role towards ensuring food security, poverty alleviation and employment creation.

A panel presentation on: Post Covid 19 and beyond: “Assessing and understanding the challenges and opportunities for women in Agriculture” will open the event in the Ashanti Regional Capital.

Training sessions bothering on finance will also address: “Identity – Access and Appraisal for obtaining credit or loan- Value Chain Optimizations” while another training presentation will bequeath practical knowledge on: “How can women build long-term resilience in future crisis through sustainable mechanization and Technology?”

A Market Accessibility training session will address the subject of: “Giving women farmers support to enhance their productivity and market the food they produce, through e-commerce channels”

Insightful subjects like: “Effective ways for women in agriculture to increase their ability to produce food for their communities during Covid- 19 and beyond”, “How do we ensure that the primary drivers of the sector – the smallholder women farmers – are included and empowered, and their economic outcomes enhanced?” will be treated as individual topics to allow for holistic knowledge acquisition for participants.

The highlight of the event would be an award presentation dubbed: Gold in the Soil Awards, where various deserving women farmers would be recognized for their astounding contributions to the growth of agriculture in their community and the country.

The Gold in the soil awards spread across fifteen(15) categories that include; Passion for Farm Award, She Innovates Award, Super Woman Farmer Award, Outstanding Woman in Extension Services Award, She -Operates, Star Woman Agripreneur Award, Diamond in the Rough Award, Feed to Food Award, Change Champion Award, Royal Agro Award (Queen mothers), Lady of the Region Export Award, Climate-Smart Women Project Award, Princess Carla Award, Development Partner Award and the most coveted Gold in the Soil Award.

Activities slated for the two-day event include: Exhibitions and other thematic subjects namely; At the Table – Agri Women Panel Discussion, The Wave-Maker (10:1) Mentorship Session, Leadership & best practices Training sessions, Identity and Financial Management Session, Digital & Innovative Marketing sessions.

Enthralling sessions dubbed: Gathering of the Royals (queen mothers from various regions, to discuss and share issues on …) Panel dialogue: Lead & Impact stories, Fire in My Heart; Grace in My Soul Motivational series and Experience sharing, Gold in the Soil Documentary & Awards and Exhibitions complete the itinerary for the event.

In 2019, approximately eight hundred and thirty-five (835) women participated in the event, held in the Volta Region.

The immense contribution of women to the agric sector is too huge to ignore. Because of their dynamic nature and proven resourcefulness, efforts either being made or conceived to strengthen the agric sector must focus on empowering them.

The rationale behind this line of thought is simple-when a woman is empowered to succeed, it robs off on almost everyone. Women are naturally wire to be producers and sources- we must collectively acknowledge this traits and fully tap into them as Ghana seeks to get her economy back and stronger.

Also important is the need to usher in a new epoch that will see women venture into agricultural education and training, research and extension services, as well as supply chain logistics, agri-technology, agric-policy-making and implementation Post Covid-19 and beyond.

Yara Ghana to sponsor women’s training at WOFAGRIC and Gold in the Soil Awards programme

A major and leading fertilizer producing company in Ghana, Yara Ghana, has disclosed its intention to sponsor the training of women at this year’s [2nd edition] annual Women In Food and Agriculture Leadership Training Forum and Expo (WOFAGRIC) and Gold In The Soil Awards which will place on Thursday 6th to Friday 7th August 2020, in Kumasi.

Yara Ghana, since its inception, has supported women in agriculture enhancing events and will fund two major training sessions in production and market accessibility.

Details in a recent press release issued by the organizing body, Agrihouse Foundation, indicate that the training session on Production will be on the topic: “Giving women farmers support to enhance their productivity and market the food they produce through e-commerce channels“; whereas the session on Market Accessibility will be on the topic: “Effective ways for women in agriculture to increase their ability to produce food for their communities during Covid-19 and beyond.”

The Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, Ms. Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa, expressed their appreciation for Yara’s consistent support and elaborating on the value of the event.

She said “Yara Ghana stands out as one of Ghana’s exemplary corporate organization that has generously given support to the development of Ghana’s agriculture sector, and women in agriculture in particular.”

“Indeed, the success of WOFAGRIC in empowering and nationally appreciating our women’s contribution to agriculture today is owed hugely to entities like Yara Ghana who, figuratively, have held our hands right from the start of this journey”, she added.

She also indicated that “as a matter of fact, I could say that, under our programmes, Yara has supported the training of Ghana’s farmers with the same corporate visionary zeal with which they have effectively supplied agric inputs to the sector.”

“Of course, WOFAGRIC itself also stands out as unique women targeted programme solely given to empowering the Ghanaian – with skills, knowledge, resources, and a befitting sense of accomplishment in recognizing their immense and amazing contribution to Ghana’s agriculture sector and food supply, in particular, through the equally unique Gold In the Soil Awards. So, it is a relevant and women empowerment event for any development minded corporate organization to want to identify with”, said Ms AKosa.

This year’s edition of the WOFAGRIC has activities that cover Training, Panel Conversations, Mentoring, and Capacity Building Sessions that cover topics like Finance, Market Accessibility, Production, Leadership, Agri Power Women roundtable, the WaveMaker session, the Mentorship session, Gathering Of The Royals, Empowerment Talk (Fire In My Heart; Grace In My Soul Motivational Drive).

It is out of these inspiring and educative sessions that Yara Ghana has made it a point to sponsor the very strategic subjects of Production and Market Accessibility.

The WOFAGRIC and Gold In The Soil Awards is an event that provides mentoring, networking, and learning designed for the benefit of women in agricultural sector. Its targets include farmers, agripreneurs, key stakeholders, development partners, researchers, farmer groups, government agencies, businesses, civil society, investment, and professional advisors, as well as corporate organizations.

The theme for the 2020 edition is: Transforming and Sustaining Women in Agriculture: The Role of Public, Private and Development Partners.

The interesting part of the WOFAGRIC event is the Gold in the Soil Awards which, equally, is a women-focused awards ceremony that beams the lime-light on women working and excelling in the field of agriculture.

This awards scheme recognizes and rewards pioneers and trailblazers; women who push the boundaries along the agriculture value chain.

The Gold in the Soil Awards showcases the efforts of women agripreneurs, celebrate their achievements and contributions to the development of their immediate communities and the overall economy of Ghana.

This aspect of the awards scheme is conveyed through a special documentary focused on the nominated women’s farms and businesses, whilst telling their story of passion, drive, excitement, challenges, short- and long-term visions, in a way designed to inspire and mentor viewers.

According to the press release, this year’s WOFAGRIC partnered by the Ministry of food and Agriculture (MOFA), Women in Agric Development (WIAD), and the National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners Association of Ghana (NFFAWAG), has notable sponsors such as Canada, Absa Bank, LK International, RST, who are contributing immensely to make this 2nd WOFAGRIC and Gold In The Soil event a national empowerment asset.

Agricultural Sustainability: How to find credit as a farmer

One of the things that contribute to greenhouse gas emission is food production. It contributes up a third of the total global greenhouse gas emissions. It is one of the greatest drivers of biodiversity loss in the world.

There are many solutions for decreasing the environmental damage caused by the food system. These solutions emphasize the role of farmers as food producers as well as providers of ecosystem services.

By this way of thinking, farmers have to promote sustainable and environmentally friendly production practices and technologies.

Notwithstanding, sustainable agriculture often requires a certain level of capital, and many of our farmers in low-income countries like Ghana do not have access to credit and financial information.

According to Nicole Bolomey, Director for Andreas Hermes Akademie International, both the young and older farmers struggle with understanding of basic accounting and terms like taxes, bank loans as well as other financial aspects of running a business and accessing capital.

Meanwhile, some farmers and agribusinesses that have managed to sort out the net of such information soon realize that they will not be able to get financial support as they are either too small for bank loans or too large for microfinance.

So, how could policy makers, private investors and civil society organizations support these farmers or even agribusinesses to access capital and invest in sustainable agriculture?

First of all, secure and long-term land tenure is essential for farmers to even consider putting time and money into sustainable agricultural practices.

Farmers who do not have their own land or a long term lease, tend not to invest in the land. Policies should, therefore, implement land reforms that increase farmers’ access to land and secure their land rights.

Let us now consider some important ways to secure funding for sustainable agriculture.

There should be Sufficient and Available of Data of Farmers
One question we need to ask ourselves is – “Do we have sufficient and available data on farmers and farms?” Farmers who have secure access to land often depend on local rural banks for accessing capital.

But as we all know agriculture is not like any other business that banks generally work with, and farmers often do not have a financial history, which means that banks do not have sufficient knowledge and information about the farmers and their farms.

At this point, it would be important for government agencies, donors and non-governmental organizations to provide local rural banks with access to data and information about farmers’ cash flows and assets – perhaps these organizations should start building capacities of farmers. It is also imperative for the farmers themselves to learn to keep proper records.

This way, banks [like Agricultural Development Bank of Ghana] could tailor design loans and credit packages to meet the farmer’s needs and capacities, at the same time decreasing the level of risk with the investment.

Data that visualizes farmers’ cash flows and assets in relation to the investments can also prove to investors the positive effects of loaning money to farmers can have on the livelihoods and food security of rural households.

Information that can be used to encourage future funding, at the same time making it easier for policymakers to make evidence-based decisions. The importance of data in this regard can not be underestimated.

The Head of Conservation and Development [Adi Widyanto] at BirdLife Partner Indonesia was right when he said:

“To get funding, one needs to show that the new approach can generate profit for a single farmer. One needs to demonstrate to both farmers and financial investors that the inputs yield payback and returns outweigh the risks.”

Incentive for Sustainability
For the positive ecosystem services and health benefits farmers provide to be accounted for, there should be environmentally friendly agricultural methods and technologies that can be profitable and make farms more resilient.

Due to this, redirecting government subsidies and funds towards agricultural practices that harness biodiversity and care for water, forests and soils would ultimately reward farmers for producing food in an environmentally friendly manner. It would also deliver on policy goals, helping the transition towards sustainability.

Noteworthy, however, the time lag between investment and payback in sustainable agriculture is quite long. Even if a farmer manages to access capital and invest in sustainable agriculture, it can take years to restore the land and ecosystem services. So, farmers need incentives and support to continue their work even several years after the initial engagement.

One way to encourage such long-term systematic transformation is through results-based payment, in which farmers are asked to commit to sustainable practices in return for pre-financing and receive higher payment later on if they continue to farm sustainably. This is a common practice in the developed countries.

 

We have to look beyond production of food
It is important to always remember that sustainable production practices and technologies are not the only means for decreasing the negative impacts of the food system.

The use of chemicals, waste management, deforestation and transportation within food value chains are some of the other factors that must be dealt with in order to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions caused by the agricultural sector. We have to see sustainability as a business driver for our food systems.

The consumption side measures should also be part of the portfolio to make it complete. According to Christofer Steward, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Sustainability at OLAM, it is important to have in mind that certifications, which set up standards for sustainable food and are meant to move the cost to consumers, tend to add burden for the farmers and is not that effective. Certification is important for the export market purposes.

The shortcomings of certifications have been on the radar for some time, and several major certification brands, like the International Foundation for Organic Agriculture (IFOAM), Rainforest Alliance, The Non-GMO Project, Certified Naturally Grown, among others, have been updating their certification approach with smarter improvement scales, allowing for smallholders to move towards environmental and social criteria at their own pace.

While improving certifications is a right step going forward, there is also a need to include the negative environmental and social externalities in the price of food. And so Christopher Steward argues again that:

“First and foremost consumers care about the costs, while brand value and sustainability are secondary. We therefore need to make unsustainable food more expensive to push it out from the system.”

The food system is extremely fragmented as different actors in the food chain manage different parts of the chain. A transformation of the system requires different actors to work together to find new ways to collaborate and work together, without compromising the commercial interest of businesses.

It is worth mention that, there is the need to take steps to formalize either whole or part of the various food chains in the country [Ghana] – the only formal food chain in Ghana is the cocoa value chain.

The private sector has a big role in this transition and an opportunity to deliver sustainable solutions at the required size to solve the problem, but farms and businesses need the public sector to contribute with supporting policies and smart subsidies, whilst consumers and civil society organizations need to increase the demand for sustainable food production.

Funny video of boy telling mum to calm down as she disciplines him pops up

A video went viral a few days ago about a young boy who bought his way out of being beaten by his mother with some cool words and apology he rendered to his mum.

In reacting to the video, the president of the Combat Domestic Violence and Abuse Foundation, Chief Dozie Kaidi Obiaku has expressed his desire to make the young boy their calm down ambassador.

Chief Dozie Kaidi Obiaku released a statement on behalf of the foundation and said: “We would love to make him an ambassador. Every violence in the world could be avoided if we learnt to clam down.We have adopted ‘Calm down’ as a key mantra now and we would love to bring the boy in as one of us.

The video has been received well by the public as the governor of Lagos, Babajide Sanwo-Olu reacted to the video and also said he wants to meet the boy.

They wrote;

Calm Down!
We, the president, (Chief Dozie Kaidi Obiaku), members and trustees of the Combat Domestic Violence and Abuse Foundation would like to enjoin the general public to help us get to the boy in the viral video.

We would love to make him an ambassador.

Every violence in the world could be avoided if we learnt to clam down.

We have adopted ‘Calm down’ as a key mantra now and we would love to bring the boy in as one of us.

Watch the video;

Full video of Beyoncé and Shatta Wale’s ‘Already’ finally drops

The long awaited video has finally hit the net. Already, a song by Beyoncé featuring Ghanaian dancehall act Shatta Wale has finally hit the net.

The song was on Beyonce’ s Lion King album and since its release it has been a heavy jam in Ghana though the fire around it died quite quickly.

About 5 days ago, a snippet of Shatta Wale and Beyoncé’s “Already” got leaked online and it spread like wildfire.

It appears the visuals of the hit song will soon be released a year after the song was dropped. The song was initially released on Jul 23, 2019.

It has received good reviews from critics and music lovers. As at the time of this write-up, the song has garnered 12,194,157 views on Youtube alone.

It was rumored that Shatta Wale had finally had a shoot with Beyonce for the official video of the Lion King album but some didn’t believe though Shatta came out to slightly confirm that.

However, actress Nadia Buari has shared a 4:01 complete video of Shatta Wale and Beyoncé’s ‘Already’ on her page on Instagram, the video its’ just amazing.

Sharing the video she captioned; “I’m the only one obsessed with this video?!… Damn. Watched it a million times #already? @beyonce and @shattawalenima ??”

L£aked video: Aide to NPP chairman caught chewing a married woman [watch here]

The aide to Upper West Regional Chairman of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) [Alhaji Salifu Sena] has been caught having affair [s£x] with a married woman.

In a video intercepted by myaimreport.com, the aide to the NPP Chairman was seen been ambushed by a couple of men.

He was pushed out of the room amid beatings and punches by some men.

He was stripped naked and humiliated after he was well dealt with.

According to sources, he was traced to the hideout where he had been sleeping with the woman who was reported to be someone else’s wife.

Watch the video below:

Wild video of SHS Girls showing their ‘Things’ pops up on social media

Our sisters at the Senior High Schools (SHS) are in the news again. Some these SHS girls have been causing stir on the internet in recent times – showing vital parts of their bodies.

These female SHS students have decided to show Ghanaians and the whole world on social media their undies.

The crazy video features five girls who are in the dormitory, wildly displaying their dancing skills.

Some female students have caused another stir on social media with another wild video of them showing off skin and it appears these girls refuse to learn.

Whiles their parents are at home toiling hard to give them a better life, all these ones know how to do best is to show their undies in a video.

Their parents will be very disappointed in them when they see the video.

The indecent video which is currently trending has caught the attention of many social media users.

While they were dancing, the camera captured their different undies and it’s disgusting.

Watch the video below.

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Another set of slay queens

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New video emerges of witch doctors abusing alleged witches in Widana

A new video has emerged showing various forms of abuses against women accused of being witches in Widana, a town in the Bawku Municipality of the Upper East Region.

The author of the video, The Sanneh Institute, an NGO, is using the video to back a petition to President Nana Akufo-Addo to shutdown the “witch-healing centre” in the town.

In the video, which has been posted below, some young women are seen rolling on the floor or restrained after a witch doctor sprinkles water on them.

This new video comes at a time when the police are on a manhunt for persons who lynched 90-year-old Akua Denteh in Kafaba, after a soothsayer pointed her out as a witch.

The lynching of the nonagenarian was also recorded on a video and has caused fierce public outrage.

A narration that comes with the latest video by The Sanneh Institute reveals that when a person accused of being a witch is brought to the healing centre, water is sprinkled on them and if they are a witch, they allegedly confess.

But in many instances, the accused persons – all of them women – insist that they are not witches and are beaten until they confess.

Watch the video compiled by The Sanneh Institute below.

The video back a petition to President Akufo-Addo to shutdown the “witch-healing centre”

Here is Ebony: Wanlov’s daughter named after the late singer

In case you missed it, Wanlov has named one of his children Ebony after the late “Kupe” singer, and the baby girl is more than two years already.

According to the Ghanaian singer, who is known for giving his children weird names like Abonsamposuro, Mali Wasty, Tivi, Radio, Kojolescu, Alata Mori among others, he chose ‘Ebony’ for his daughter because she was birthed around the time the singer suddenly passed on.

The always bare-feet musician has about 6 children with 5 women from different countries. According to him, he named one ‘Ama Manpi’ because he didn’t reach climax during the intercourse that conceived her, hence the name “Manpi” which when translated from Twi to English means ‘I didn’t cum’.

The ‘FOKN Bois’ rapper in an old report by pulse.com.gh also disclosed that had it not been the passing of Ebony, he was about to name his daughter “Weide3” because for ‘this one’ he reached orgasm.

Fast forward, Ebony, is growing and she was captured in a recent video her father shared. In the video that shows Wanlov carrying a box of Fante Kente with his other daughter ‘Ama Manpi’ at his back, it could be heard that others with himself addressed his little daughter as ‘Ebony’.

He captioned the video “Daddy Day, the box was full of fante kenkey,” watch it below.

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the box was full of fante kenkey *

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COVID-19 Pandemic: How it turned the tables on Ghana’s diaspora

In our series of letters from African writers, journalist and former Ghana government minister Elizabeth Ohene writes about how the prospect of living abroad has lost its attraction in the time of coronavirus.

We used to say here in Ghana, half in jest, half in truth, that you can find a Ghanaian in every country in the world.

I’ve heard of Ghanaians in Greenland, Iceland and Papua New Guinea. I admit, I haven’t heard about a Ghanaian in the Faroe Islands, which is my idea of the most exotic and faraway place, but I wouldn’t be surprised if one of us is there.

From the middle of the 1970s through to the end of the 1990s, circumstances had conspired to turn us into a travelling people.

Over the past 20 years we have continued to do it, not because the things that used to drive us away still exist, but simply because it has become a habit and our minds are tuned that way.

The middle classes now try to send their pregnant wives to deliver babies in the United States. They beg, borrow and steal to send their children to universities in the US and UK and encourage the children to stay on after completing school.

Then there are the adventurers among us who have always taken off to go and try their luck and seek fortunes wherever is said to be the current land of gold.

‘Under the radar’ Ghanaians
No credible statistics exist on exactly how many Ghanaians there are in various countries around the world, never mind what they are doing there.

Some of them, of course, are thriving where they are, and making Ghana proud. But there are many of them who, it is widely understood, are living “under the radar” and trying to “regularise” their paperwork and so do not advertise the fact they are Ghanaians.

They might be trying to live unnoticed, but we know they are there. Through holding down two or three jobs, they send the odd $100 to help with a mother’s food bills.

It is a badge of honour to say you have a relation abroad and we bend over backwards to accommodate their wishes when it comes to making arrangements for funerals and attendant ceremonies.

Those among them who can travel, that is those who have “regularised” their visa situations, usually plan and make the 10-day or two-week trip to Ghana to catch up with friends and family, typically over the Christmas period.

The places that young people had been willing to give an arm and a leg to go to, were no longer attractive”

Elizabeth Ohene
Ghanaian journalist

When they are here, they behave as one does on holidays and splash money around; no-one hears about them having a hard life over there, and we see them as success stories. They are an inspiration for other young people to try and escape from Ghana and go abroad.

Then coronavirus arrived.

The places that young people had been willing to give an arm and a leg to go to were no longer attractive, as China, Europe and America were hit hard by the virus. The talk turned to bringing Ghanaians home from abroad. Suddenly Ghana became an attractive place.

The Ghanaians abroad were anxious and they showed it.

“Please don’t let what is happening in Europe and America happen in our country” was the constant refrain.

Factories in Ghana are mass producing face masks in coronavirus crisis

As the crisis has continued, the perception of Ghanaians abroad being the lucky ones has slowly been changing.

It was not just the report back in May that 33 Ghanaians had died from Covid-19 in New York that shook everybody, it was the growing desperation from Ghanaians abroad who wanted to come back home.

If we discovered during the lockdown that in Ghana’s big cities it was difficult for many people to survive without the daily hustle, then we got to realise that it was impossible to survive at all abroad as a hustler in the time of coronavirus.

People could no longer live “under the radar” and undocumented migrants who, up until then had been welcome for doing jobs for half the normal wages, became unwelcome and possible candidates for being blamed as the source of the disease.

Landlords who used to rent rooms and apartments to people living in the shadows now wanted to make sure they had a valid visa.

With businesses shutting down and everybody wanting to cut down on expenditure, many of our people discovered they had become surplus to requirements.

Grass is not greener
We have been looking on in dismay as the realities of the lives of many of those who are abroad have been exposed.

It turns out that many of the young women who went abroad to be nannies and maids in Lebanon and other Arab countries lead intolerable lives that no-one would accept in Ghana.

It turns out that in spite of the skyscrapers and 10-lane highways, the sleeping arrangements for many of our young people in China and some European countries are no different from our local slums.

Coronavirus has made all of us look at things from a different perspective.

People want to come home but the borders are closed.

The Ghanaians at home feel the virus was brought into the country by travellers from Europe and China, and are therefore not enthusiastic about letting in even more people.

There are some evacuation flights taking place, but with most airlines not flying, they are expensive. Equally expensive are the protocols for entering Ghana, which demand that on arrival you go into a 14-day quarantine in a hotel monitored by the security services.

Abroad seems to have lost its lustre.

For the moment, it appears the place to be is right here in Ghana.

‘A TV programme sparked my interest in farming’ … The story of a banker turned pig-farmer

Entrepreneurs are born in many ways. Some say they got their business ideas in a dream. Others say they got it from observing a problem; and others say through their upbringing they developed entrepreneurial instincts.

This article put the a spotlight on a young man whose interest in farming began at age nine when he watched a popular TV programme of the time. Today, though a banker, that interest never went away and has eventually pushed him to start a pig and aquaculture farm. Relax and read on as Lawrence shares his story.

Lawrence Bampoe is a product of the West Africa Senior High School, where he studied science. After that, he continued his education at the university of Ghana where he read a diploma programme in Adult Education. Then he further went to Regent University in Accra to obtain a degree in management and computing.

He is almost done with his second degree programme in Finance and Investment at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology’s campus in Accra. Lawrence did not find it easy in life, as he had to finance his own education right from his time at the University of Ghana. Currently, he works with one of the reputable commercial banks in the country.

His interest in farming is quite an intriguing one, as he picked it from a TV programme known as Hobby Times that showed on GTV. He said once the programme showed how to rear snails, and he felt he could do that in his grandfather’s flower-pot. This was just at age nine.

Even though he started the small snail farm as a hobby, it later became a small business for him as the neighbours even came over to buy them for food.

Another interest Lawrence developed later in life was joining rural outreach programmes. In one of those programmes he came across someone who owned an aquaculture farm and a piggery. So he spent some time with him in the farm and helped out with certain works.

Meanwhile, all along he had been thinking of investing in a farming-related business but had not yet decided on which one. So, after he visited the fish and pig farm he felt it was the right business to move into.

He began to read widely about the two farms to get a fair idea of what he had to do when he started. Then he acquired a land at Nsawam in the Eastern Region and started the aquaculture with about 500 fingerlings, and added 10 piglets in 2016.

Through some NGO entrepreneurship programmes, he was able to expand the farm’s capacity. His business strategy is to grow the animals and fish, process them and sell to the market. So far, he has sold more than 100 pigs and 1,500 fresh and processed catfish. But currently, due to some water challenges, the aquaculture farm has been put on hold.

His efforts have not been in vain, as he was adjudged the best aquaculture farmer in the Nsawam Adoagyiri Municipality. He has also participated in the Tony Elumelu Foundation entrepreneurship training programme in Nigeria.

Lawrence says his vision is for Nsroma Farms to be one of the leading exporters of high quality, healthy, wholesome and well-packaged protein foods in Africa by 2035.

One of the biggest challenges to farming in this country is access to land. There are so many litigations on land, and as such getting a genuine land took him about three years – and even with that, he had to buy it at a high price.

Another challenge is, of course, inadequate financial resources. Setting up a fish pond and a piggery is very expensive. And considering the fact that he had to finance it from his own pocket, it wasn’t easy for him at all.

Sadly, coronavirus has affected his business. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic led to closure of restaurants, pubs, among other food and drinking outlets, he has lost a substantial portion of his market. But the positive he has taken from the experience is that it has given him a sense of urgency to develop a strong online presence so he won’t have to rely heavily on the restaurants and pubs for sales.

The Ghana Climate and Innovations Centre (GCIC), Lawrence says, has opened his eyes as to how to run a profitable business, still keeping in mind the environment. Then again, the organisation has helped his company to manage waste – whereby waste generated from the piggery can be used to prepare feed for the fish farm. In addition to these, he has also received technical support from the organisation.

He also spoke about how education has helped him. For Lawrence, education has redefined his approach to many things, including his business. With the help of his educational background, he has developed his business strategy in such a way that it includes the community, especially women, in the value chain so they can support their families.

And his background in finance has also been useful for the business, as he is able to keep his books in a professional manner and project sales and expenditure to help in decision-making.

He shared his view on how government can support people of his caliber. In the opinion of Lawrence, any entrepreneurship support from government must identify those who really need such assistance and be free of any politicisation.

Besides that, he says, government must take the lead in patronising made-in-Ghana products, so that entrepreneurs will be encouraged that they have a ready market and the support of government.

His advice to young entrepreneurs, “I would tell young people who want to enter into any entrepreneurship venture to do their research about the business well, and understand what it is involved before they go into it. They should understand that entrepreneurship doesn’t mean you will make money overnight; it takes time, so they should have patience when they start a business.”

Loss of bees limits supply of key food crops – A study reveals

A lack of bees in agricultural areas is causing shortage of some food crops, a new US-based study has found, suggesting that declines in the pollinators may have serious ramifications for global food security.


Species of wild bees, such as bumblebees, are suffering from a loss of flowering habitat, the use of toxic pesticides and, increasingly, the climate crisis.

Managed honeybees, meanwhile, are tended to by beekeepers, but have still been assailed by disease, leading to concerns that the three-quarters of the world’s food crops dependent upon pollinators could falter due to a lack of bees.

The new research appears to confirm some of these fears.

Of seven studied crops grown in 13 states across America, five showed evidence that a lack of bees is hampering the amount of food that can be grown, including apples, blueberries and cherries.

A total of 131 crop fields were surveyed for bee activity and crop abundance by a coalition of scientists from the US, Canada and Sweden.

“The crops that got more bees got significantly more crop production,” said Rachael Winfree, an ecologist and pollination expert at Rutgers University who was a senior author of the paper, published by the Royal Society. “I was surprised, I didn’t expect they would be limited to this extent.”

The researchers found that wild native bees contributed a surprisingly large portion of the pollination despite operating in intensively farmed areas largely denuded of the vegetation that supports them.

Wild bees are often more effective pollinators than honeybees but research has shown several species are in sharp decline. The rusty patched bumblebee, for example, was the first bee to be placed on the US endangered species list in 2017 after suffering an 87% slump in the previous two decades.

Swaths of American agriculture is propped up by honeybees, frantically replicated and shifted around the country in hives in order to meet a growing need for crop pollination.

Almonds, one of the two crops not shown to be suffering from a lack of bees in the study, are mostly grown in California, where most of the beehives in the US are trucked to each year for a massive almond pollination event.

The US is at the forefront of divergent trends that are being replicated elsewhere in the world – as farming becomes more intensive to churn out greater volumes to feed a growing global population, tactics such as flattening wildflower meadows, spraying large amounts of insecticide and planting monocultural fields of single crops are damaging the bee populations crucial for crop pollination.

According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, the amount of crop production dependent upon insect and other pollinators has increased 300% over the past 50 years. Pollination shortfalls could cause certain fruit and vegetables to become rarer and more expensive, triggering nutritional deficits in diets. Staple foods such as rice, wheat and corn won’t be affected, however, as they are pollinated via the wind.

“Honeybee colonies are weaker than they used to be and wild bees are declining, probably by a lot,” said Winfree. “The agriculture is getting more intensive and there are fewer bees, so at some point the pollination will become limited. Even if honeybees were healthy, it’s risky to rely so much on a single bee species. It’s predictable that parasites will target the one species we have in these monocultural crop fields.”

The paper recommends that farmers gain a better understanding of the optimal amount of pollination needed to boost crop yields, as well as review whether the level of pesticide and fertilizer put on to fields is appropriate.

“The trends we are seeing now are setting us up for food security problems,” Winfree said. “We aren’t yet in a complete crisis now but the trends aren’t going in the right direction. Our study shows this isn’t a problem for 10 or 20 years from now – it’s happening right now.”

Nadia Buari in trouble as she shares full video of Beyoncé & Shatta Wale’s song

Ghanaian actress Nadia Buari has shared the full video of Beyoncé’s Already song with Shatta Wale ahead of its official release.

The American singer is set to release her music film, Black Is King, which features music videos from her Lion King: The Gift album.

The songs on the album include the banging track with Ghana’s Shatta Wale which is titled Already.

Ahead of the official release of Beyoncé’s music film on July 31, 2020, snippets of the music video with Shatta Wale leaked on Friday, July 24, 2020.

The video sighted by YEN.com.gh looks to have been recorded from the screen of a TV and had inscriptions suggesting it might have been recorded in a non-English speaking country, possibly in Asia.

The short clip which could be described as a trailer has Shatta Wale seated on a throne riding on a horse and riding a king with some guards beside.

Beyoncé, on the hand, is seen dancing and singing. She rock many different hairstyles which are African-inspired.

Following the leak, Nadia Buari shared the full music video on her Instagram page and expressed her obsession for the song.

Sharing the video, Nadia tagged both Beyoncé and Shatta Wale saying she had watched the video over a million times:

“I’m I the only one obsessed with this video?!… Damn. Watched it a million times #already. @beyonce and @shattawalenima .”

Not long after sharing the video, the actress deleted it from her page for reasons best known to her.

But the sharing and deletion of the video by Nadia has caught some attention on social media with an Instagram blog, Thosecalledcelebs, calling her out as a hypocrite.

Sharing a screenshot of Nadia’s post, the blog suggested Nadia was tagging Beyoncé to get her attention and not because she was in love with the song as she claimed.

The video comes over a year after the Already song by Beyoncé and Shatta Wale was released by the American singer

As reported by YEN.com.gh at the time, Beyoncé curated two albums featuring international artistes for the Lion King movie which are called Spirit and The Gift.

It is on The Gift album, released on Friday, July 19, 2019, which had Beyoncé featuring Shatta Wale on the Already. son.

The album also featured other African stars including Burna Boy, Tiwa Savage, Mr Eazi, Tekno, and Yemi Alade.

UCC set up resilient Network Operating Centre, installs over 300 CCTV cameras

The University of Cape Coast (UCC) has set up an ultra-modern resilient Network Operating Centre to promote teaching and learning and to improve security on the campus.

The centre comes with an IP based Close Circuit Television (CCTV) system, an e-learning server for teaching and research, a CCTV camera control room, among others.

In addition, more than 300 IP based CCTV cameras have been installed at vantage points, including the main administration, main streets, the halls of residence and the library to monitor activities within the university community.

At a short ceremony to commission the centre, Professor Joseph Ghartey-Ampiah [the out-going Vice-Chancellor], said the move was part of initiatives to digitise the university.

According to him, security had become more technological than mere manpower and called for effective collaboration between the Directorate of ICT and the security to provide maximum protection for the university community.

He expressed delight about the digitisation process and encouraged the incoming university administration to continue with the process to further improve teaching and learning.

Prof Ghartey-Ampiah also expressed the hope that more CCTV cameras would be installed at examination centres to check malpractices.

Also read: UCC and Agri-Impact Undertake Greenhouse Project on Campus

Mr Abraham Brew Sam, the ICT Consultant for UCC, explained that the new network system would ensure that the university had a better feel of internet access on campus.

He said the next phase of the digitisation process of the university would be to improve the faculty networks for easy integration onto the new Networking System for smooth teaching and learning.

In a related development, the Vice-Chancellor also commissioned the School of Business building Complex and a 25-unit three-storey lecture theatre, both constructed through the Internally Generated Funds (IGF) of the university.

The lecture theatre was constructed at the cost of GH¢20 million by Top International Construction with the consultant being the Directorate of Physical Development and Estate Management of the University.

Read also: Vice-Chancellor of UCC Commissions School of Business Building and Data Centre

Professor Ghartey-Ampiah commended the directorate and the contractors for a good job done and charged them to ensure that the facility is well maintained.

On his part, Mr Philip Ntim Owusu, Directorate of Physical Development and Estate Management, explained that laboratories for the School of Pharmacy and smart classrooms for e-learning, which were not part of the original plan were added to the facility.

You may also want to read this: UCC Confers Degrees on Pioneer Students of CSIR College of Science and Technology

Reconsider Domelovo’s leave directive – African Auditor Generals to Akufo-Addo

A regional organisation [AFROSAI-E] with 26 African Auditor-General from English-speaking supreme audit institutions (SAIs) has written to the President Akufo-Addo to reconsider his proceed on leave directive to the Auditor-General, Daniel Yao Domelovo.

Mr Domelovo was asked to take his accumulated leave of 167 days in June by the President – a directive that has been heavily criticised by majority of Ghanaians and several anti-corruption agencies.

On Tuesday, July 28, it was revealed that the locks of the Auditor General had been changed after Mr Domelovo passed by the office to pick some documents.

The letter to the President, signed by Chairperson of AFROSAI-E [Ms L Taylor-Pearce] and the Chief Executive Officer [Ms MMR Nkau] stated that they are deeply concerned about the grave repercussions of the infringement on the independence of the Auditor-General of Ghana.

“Effective SAIs enshrine principles of good governance and make a difference in the lives of citizens by contributing to accountability, transparency, integrity, staying relevant and leading by example”, part of their letter reads.

They also said, “To deliver these value and benefits, a SAI needs an enabling and conducive institutional framework. This includes independence as a primary requirement.We believe that since its establishment, SAI Ghana has made effective strides to institutionalised these values.”

They indicated in the letter that “on behalf of the Auditors General, we appeal to your Office to consider the ramifications that these actions will have on the effectiveness of the SAI and good governance in Ghana.”

Below is the full letter to the Presidency:

Mr. Nana Bediatuo Asante

Executive Secretary to the President

Office of the President

Jubilee House Accra

info@presidency.gov.gh

28 July 2020

Dear Mr Asante,

AFROSAI-E CONCERNS REGARDING INDEPENDENCE OF THE AUDITOR-GENERAL OF GHANA

I write to you with great appreciation for the ongoing efforts of the Office of the President to implement principles of good governance in Ghana.

Ghana is a founding member of AFROSAI-E, which is a regional organisation with the Auditors-General from 26 English-speaking supreme audit institutions (SAIs) as members.

I write to you on behalf of the Auditors-General of AFROSAI-E, to express our concern on hearing that the current Auditor-General of Ghana, Mr Daniel Domelevo, was compelled by the Office of the President, to go on immediate leave.

We are deeply concerned about the grave repercussions of the infringement on the independence of the Auditor-General of Ghana. Effective SAIs enshrine principles of good governance and make a difference in the lives of citizens by contributing to accountability, transparency, integrity, staying relevant and leading by example.

To deliver these value and benefits, a SAI needs an enabling and conducive institutional framework. This includes independence as a primary requirement.We believe that since its establishment, SAI Ghana has made effective strides to institutionalised these values.

The United Nations General Assembly resolution A/66/209, recognises that supreme audit institutions can accomplish their tasks objectively and effectively only if they—the organisation, its members and officials—are independent of the audited entity and are protected against outside influence.

The resolution further encourages member states to continue to apply, in a manner consistent with their national institutional structures, the SAI independence principles let out in the Lima Declaration of Guidelines on Auditing Precepts of 1977 and the Mexico Declaration on Supreme Audit Institutions Independence of 2007.

Enclosed with this letter, is a copy of the UN Resolution A/66/209.

On behalf of the Auditors General, we appeal to your Office to consider the ramifications that these actions will have on the effectiveness of the SAI and good governance in Ghana.

Especially now,with the severe global economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, strong national institutions that work for the betterment of the public service are essential. We rely on your esteemed understanding regarding this matter.

Yours sincerely.

See below a copy of the letter

Future of food: Lusk shares agriculture industry outlook

Jayson Lusk, an economist, distinguished Professor and Department Head in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University, discussed what may lay ahead for the agriculture industry going into 2021.

Lusk was a keynote speaker during a webinar hosted by the Center for Food Integrity.

He expects food retail prices to trend downward.

“They’ve already started to come down some from that spike,” Lusk said. “I think they will continue to do so, mainly because we’ve already seen meat prices start to fall.

“Still, there’s higher demand at the grocery stores at the moment. That will remain true until restaurants and other food away from home get up and going. But I don’t expect the really dramatic spikes we saw to continue in the future.”

Lusk expects an accelerated trend to e-grocery.

“It’s possible for me to imagine a food system in the future where a lot of our processed items come to us by e-delivery, and grocery store footprints are more focused on the fresh things we like to see and pick out ourselves,” he said.

Lusk also expects a rising interest in local food and direct farm delivery.

“It’s still a very small share of our overall food sales, but I think there’s rising interest there,” he said.

The pandemic has shed light on vulnerabilities in the food system, largely in processing plants where labour has been dense.

“There will be increasing interest in labour-saving automation,” Lusk said. “It’s really hard in meat, because you’re talking about products that aren’t uniform in size, colour or weight. It’s a hard problem, but it’s not an impossible problem.”

Accra City Bees Project: British High Commission and BfdG organise training workshop for its grounds workers

The British High Commission [in collaboration with Bees for development Ghana] has organised a 2-day beekeeping training workshop for six of its grounds workers.

This training workshop marks the beginning of a collaborative project by British High Commission and Bees for development Ghana called ‘Accra City Bees Project’.

According to Bees for Development, there are abundant beekeeping resources made up of ornamental trees and other flowering natural vegetation of the landscapes of Accra City that remain untapped.

“Appropriate and sustainable beekeeping systems can be developed in the city to turn the nectar, pollen and other resources used by bees into viable production of honey, beeswax and other products. These will benefit people in the beekeeping value chain, the environment and nature in general”, said the Director of Bees for development Ghana (BfdG), Dr Kwame Aidoo.

According to BfdG, the population of honey bees in the city is declining as a result of many factors including the following:

  1. The general negative perception that honey bees are deadly and can kill people so must be destroyed in the city.
  2. Reduced cavities used as nesting sites for bees in the city.
  3. Destruction of swarms of bees by pest control agents because they are considered as treats to people
  4. Destruction of established nests in the roofs of buildings because bees are wrongly considered aggressive to people.

“The importance of bees and beekeeping is not known to many people. Their critical role of pollination of cultivated plants improves yields for farmers. Wild plants in the forests are pollinated to produce fruits and seeds that feed animals to conserve biodiversity hence maintaining and improving ecosystems. The forest is also regenerated and sustained through this important ecosystem service of pollination. Bees again collect nectar, a great natural wealth otherwise unused by man, and turn it into honey. Propolis, pollen, beeswax, etc could also be harvested from bees for sale”, Dr Aidoo added.

Participants for the workshop at the British High Commission Conference room, Accra

Bees for Development Ghana is therefore pleased to collaborate with the British High Commission Accra to develop this project that aims at achieving the following objectives:

  • To conserve the bee populations in Accra. Suitable nesting sites and apiaries will be established at places that avoid conflicts between bees and people.
  • To develop vibrant city beekeeping systems to offer profitable production opportunities to interested operators. Honey, beeswax and other bee products will be produced in the city for sale.
  • To establish a vibrant group of beekeepers who will be empowered with knowledge, skills and logistics to rescue, protect and relocate stressed bee colonies and swarms in the city. These colonies could be used in restocking degraded agricultural landscapes that are also declining in be populations as a result of inappropriate pesticide use. Established forest and natural reserves outside the city and in other regions of Ghana can be restocked with rescued bee colonies.

In order to achieve the objectives above, Bees for development Ghana birthed the project, ACCRA CITY BEES.

The project makes use of suitable compound or ground facilities of the British High Commission in Accra to serve as the centre core of its activities.

As part of this wonderful project, the British High Commission in Accra and Bees for development Ghana organised a two-day beekeeping workshop for some selected grounds workers in Accra , Ghana.

The participant for the workshop were selected based on their interest to form a team which will spearhead the Accra City Bees Project.

The Director of Bees for development Ghana, who doubles as the facilitator for the workshop, indicated he had very good interactions with the trainees who told him interesting stories of encounters with bees during their work – taking care of trees and other ornamental plants on the facilities of the Commission.

The participants promised to dedicate themselves to working hard to save numerous bee colonies in the city which often times got killed by pest control people.

This is a modest start of Accra City Bees Project that has the potential to expand to bring in other potential beekeepers in Accra.

The trainees expressed high interest and will also work to establish their own colonies near their homes and farms in the near future.

German confectioners want LID tariff paid directly to farmers in Ghana & Ivory Coast

Ghana is set to commence payment of the new US$400 cocoa Living Income Differential tariff in October when the 2020/2021 crop season begins.

The LID tariff agreed in 2019 between the governments of Ghana and Ivory Coast and international cocoa traders and manufacturers is a measure hoped to help alleviate poverty among cocoa farmers.

Under the scheme, an amount of US$400 is to be levied on a metric tonne of cocoa exported from the top-two producer nations of the commodity.

However, although payment is set to begin from October 2020, modalities for the disbursement are yet to be announced.

In view of this, the Federal Association of the German Confectionery Industry (BDSI) has suggested that measures be adopted to ensure proceeds from the LID tariff are paid directly to farmers.

According to Confectionery Production, BDSI’s chocolate chairman Aldo Cristiano said: “The BDSI carries out the objectives of governments of the Ivory Coast and Ghana to improve farmers’ incomes with this special levy on cocoa. However, it is imperative to ensure that the markups actually arrive only directly with the cocoa farmers”.

Mr. Cristiano added: “This minimum price concept must not be viewed in isolation. In the long run a holistic approach alone is useful, including following agricultural policies and good administrative practice in these growing countries. Otherwise, there is a threat of more overproduction on the world market that could lead further to falling cocoa prices”.

Reuters news agency had earlier reported some major cocoa processors and chocolate manufacturers – including Barry Callebaut, Nestle, Olam cocoa and Cargill – have agreed purchase contracts prior to the 2020/2021 harvest.

For BDSI, despite the LID tariff being good for the industry, it is “imperative that cocoa farmers and their families benefit” from the policy as part of wider transformations occurring across the cocoa sector.

Along with the Living Income Differential, Ghana and Ivory Coast made history last year when the West African duo got global cocoa partners to accept a US$2,600 floor price for their cocoa.

The floor price is to serve as a cushion for producers against the falling world market price for the US$100billion global chocolate industry’s most prized raw material – cocoa beans.

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