Ghanaian women contributions to agriculture development would be recognized this year’s Women in Food and Agricultural Leadership Training Forum and the Gold in the Soil Awards.
The award, the third in the series, is slated for Wednesday, June 23 and Thursday, June 24, 2021, at Bolgatanga, the Upper East Region, on the theme “Women in Agric – Swimming, Thriving and Making Waves beyond the Pandemic.”
The programme is being organised by Agrihouse Foundation in collaboration with the Women in Agricultural Development (WIAD) under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture with support from Canada Absa and Yara.
Speaking at the launch, the Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa, said the forum and award were established in 2019 to enable women to develop their agricultural skills, motivate, mentor and build on their capabilities.
Ms Akosa said agriculture remained integral to the country’s economic growth but a great number of women who worked in farming continued to face challenges in areas of transportation, innovative marketing approaches, and limited access to funds and market.
“With this theme and focus this year, Agrihouse seeks to enable women in agribusiness develop, improve and sustain new agricultural practices and as well thrive to develop their business within this pandemic era and beyond,” she said.
The Executive Director disclosed that this year, Agrihouse was receiving nominations for the Gold in the Soil Awards, from both Upper East and Upper West Region, adding this is the first time the Foundation is opening up nominations in such a way to allow more women from culturally diverse backgrounds an opportunity to participate in the awards scheme.
She said the programme would involve mentorship sessions, training and presentation and soft skills training, workshops.
Ms Akosa said the Gold in the Soil Award was made up of 15 categories, including Passion for the Farm Awards, She-Innovates Award, Climate-Smart Women Project Award, and Outstanding Woman in Extension Services Award.
The Executive Director said objectives of the award was to promote networking among women achievers in agribusiness and propel them to do more collectively, showcase the efforts of women agripreneurs, and celebrate their achievements towards economic growth of their communities and country.
The Deputy Director of Operations at the Canadian High Commission, Stephanie Brunet congratulated Agrihouse for two similar events previously held in the Volta and Ashanti regions in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
“Canada is glad to be part of this event, which would explore ways to enhance women’s resilience and recovery from the effects of the pandemic,” she said.
The Deputy Director indicated that since 2017, Canada had been providing support to the Government of Ghana to improve its agriculture sector through an initiative called Modernizing Agriculture in Ghana (MAG).
“Canada recognises that the agriculture sector continues to hold great potential for reducing poverty and inequality in Ghana. That is why we are providing 125 million Canadian dollars of assistance directly to the Government of Ghana to help modernize the sector,” she said.
Ms Brunet said Canada was proud to have supported the Women in Food and Agriculture Leadership Training and the Gold in the Soil Award in 2019 and 2020, and we look forward to working together on this year’s event.
“We strongly believe that women are critical to the sustainability of Ghana’s agriculture and that successful women farmers deserved to be recognized for their achievement and contributions to the nation,” she said.
The Head of Business Banking of ABSA, Mrs Grace Anim Yeboah said her outfit was proud to be associated with the programme and called on banks to develop innovative products to support agriculture.
Nana Hemaa Adwoa Awindor, who chaired the programme, called for more support for women, saying given the right support women could excel in any business venture.
Madam Awindor said the coronavirus pandemic had worsened the plight of women engaged in agriculture and there was the need for government and stakeholders to support women engaged in agriculture.