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.

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