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.

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