Ghana enjoys a healthy relationship with Canada on many fronts. In agriculture, Ghana has been a beneficiary of numerous support schemes and funding for projects aimed at helping the country shine bright in the area of agriculture.
Particularly in the area of support for women in agriculture, the Canadian Embassy has over the years demonstrated a stout commitment to improving the lot of women through initiatives that focus on capacity building and adaptation to modern agricultural trends which guarantee productivity and a consequent improvement in livelihoods at the grassroots level.
Ahead of the annual WOMEN IN FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL LEADERSHIP FORUM & EXPO (WOFAGRIC 2021) and the GOLD IN THE SOIL AWARDS scheduled to take place from Wednesday, June 23 – June 24, 2021 at the Akayet Hotel in the Upper East Region, the Canadian embassy has for the third successive year made a commitment to play a central role in the annual pro-women agric forum.
Canada aims to support women farmers with training and capacity building during this year’s forum. Forty percent (40%) of this support goes into capacity building of the farmers while 60% goes into the GOLD IN THE SOIL AWARDS. This is hinged on Canada’s faith in the potential of smallholder female farmers. It further believes that through an award scheme such as the GOLD IN THE SOIL AWARDS, female farmers making commendable impacts at the grassroots will be identified, celebrated, empowered and encouraged to do great things.
Canada equally sees this as an opportunity for a paradigm-shift in celebrating women achievers in the agric value chain.
As a key development partner, Canada has taken a keen interest in local agric and consequently been involved in several efforts geared toward helping Ghana reach its potential.
According to Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa, Executive Director-Agrihouse Foundation (organiser of the event): “WOFAGRIC AND GOLD IN THE SOIL AWARDS 2021 will focus on rewarding excellence by recognising the efforts of our incredible agriwomen, most of whom have unfortunately remained unsung heroes despite their mammoth contribution to the Agric discipline. WOFAGRIC 2021 will identify such women, shed light on their endeavours, and reward their industry and resilience,” she stated.
Canada and Ghana have maintained a strong partnership in agric research through a strong partnership of collaboration between Canadian and Ghanaian universities, capacity development of national research institutions and other Canadian-funded development projects.
Canadian support has helped Ghana develop an agricultural research system that is improving food security and economic growth throughout the country.
Today, the input of the Canadian embassy has contributed extensively to fuelling increased women participation in Ghanaian agriculture.
Canada has been providing support to the government of Ghana to improve its agriculture sector through an initiative called Modernising 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 modernise the sector. The MAG project is now in the fifth year of implementation, and I am glad to note that tremendous successes are being recorded. These include increases in the adoption of relevant, productivity-enhancing technologies by both female and male farmers in Ghana, the introduction of new market-oriented approaches to farm management, improvements in major crops, and many more.
A big focus of the MAG project has been to understand the specific needs of women farmers and to ensure that both female and male farmers are receiving the appropriate extension services to help them improve both their yields and their incomes. This is in line with Canada’s Feminist International Assistance policy and the UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 on Gender Equality. Through our partnerships with the government of Ghana and organisations like the Agrihouse Foundation, we are witnessing increased empowerment and self-reliance among women in the agricultural sector. Women farmers are demonstrating higher levels of financial autonomy.
Speaking during the official launch of the 3rd Annual Women in Food and Agriculture Leadership Training and the Gold in the Soil Awards at the Oak Plaza Hotel in Accra, the Canadian Embassy representative Stephanie Brunet said: “The theme for this year’s event ‘Surviving, Thriving and Making Waves beyond the Pandemic’ could not be more appropriate in view of the adverse effects from the COVID-19 pandemic on the agricultural value chains, particularly for women farmers. Canada is therefore glad to be part of this event, which will explore ways to enhance women’s resilience and recovery from effects of the pandemic”.
The core objectives of the initiative will among other things seek to attract and boost the interest of women in agribusiness, and also motivate them to consolidate their performance in the discipline while recognising their efforts in shaping the future of agribusiness through exceptional performance and productivity.
The two (2)-day event will unfold under two (2) main segments, thus:
- The Women in Food and Agric Leadership Training Forum WOFAGRIC
This is designed to help build capacity of women farmers, entrepreneurs and other women in the agric value chain. It also aims at providing a platform to exchange best practices and share valuable lessons learnt in handling and overcoming challenges in agribusiness.
- The GOLD IN THE SOIL AWARDS
Gold in the Soil Awards: The awards sessions aim at recognising and rewarding outstanding women in Agriculture. A documentary on activities and impact of these women will be produced to be to be aired on TV and social media platforms to showcase the works of these women, and an award ceremony organised to celebrate them.
WOFAGRIC 2021 has an impressive line-up of speakers who have been selected by organisers to provide enthralling sessions that will spark the anticipated renaissance envisioned.
The Second Lady of the Republic of Ghana, Hajia Samira Bawumia; Minister of Food and Agriculture, Hon. Owusu Afriyie Akoto; and Hon. MP, Zenator Rawlings are some of the key personalities set to take centre-stage during the event.
Representatives from the Canadian High Commission, Yara Ghana, Absa, Interplast, PEG Africa, OCP, RDF Ghana, FDA, Agra, Sokodevi, GIPC, EGG Secretariat, GIZ MOAP, Mastercard Foundation, NBSSI, USDA GPP, GSA, Women in Agricultural Development (WIAD), Ministry of Gender, Women and Social Protection will be on hand to impart knowledge and improve the capacity of participants.
The Awards will have fifteen (15) categories:
Passion for the Farm Awards
The award recognises an individual woman who is excited and passionately about agribusiness and contributing to the growth of her community, creating jobs, mentoring girls in the community and supporting them to take up agric, either small-scale or large-scale – it’s the passion that is central. This award cuts across crop farmers, vegetable farmers, livestock and ﬁsheries farmers.
This goes to a woman who has or is working with the power of innovation and adding value to her agro business. She identiﬁed a challenge within the community and the value chain, and found 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 organisation in 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 creating tangible results.
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, while making a national impact.
Lady of The Region Export Award
This category recognises and rewards the region’s most successful and innovative woman exporter, with regard to size of the business and its export sales.
Development Partner Award
This award recognises the efforts of an International organisation whose works centres on agriculture, and in particular toward the development of women in the community, encouraging them to adopt best practices while adding value.
Princess Carla Award
This award recognises the efforts of a dedicated woman whose work and role affects communities positively; touching lives, mentoring, role-modelling, advising, counselling and enhancing networks for other women, both young and old
This award recognises an exceptional female who is into operation management and maintenance of tractor services. She should be earning income from this trade and has impacted her community with her skill.
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 adoptation of best practices by farmers; thereby contributing signiﬁcantly to the empowerment and socio-economic development of society and the country as a whole
The Super Woman Farmer Award
This special category goes to a physically-challenged woman whose role, work 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 (i.e., efﬁciency in service delivery, income performance) in her ﬁeld and is already a great role model, mentoring other young girls in her community.
Royal Agro Award
Through this award we identify a traditional leader (Queen mother) who is into agriculture herself, and her personal commitment to seeing women in agriculture in her community develop and thrive is helping them in all ways possible – through access to land, training, social impact programmes and advocacy.
Diamond in the Rough Award
This award goes to a generational role-model making waves in 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 for 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.
Gold in the Soil Award
This is the ultimate Award. This 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 recognisable impact on her community.