WOFAGRIC 2020: Empowering women for the new decade

This event is the first of its kind in the agricultural history of Ghana. An event designed solely for the recognition of women in agribusiness.

Since the days of Tetteh Quarshie, women have been active participants in Agriculture, but their contributions have been downplayed.

Traditional and cultural beliefs have hindered women from being recognised, thereby limiting them from reaching their full potential in agribusiness. This event will bridge the gap created by traditions and offer women a platform where their voices can be heard, share their experiences and mentor others to venture into agribusiness.

“WOFAGRIC is coming at a time when the world, a global village, is pushing for gender equality and women empowerment in all areas. The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) stated that: ‘If women worldwide had the same access to productive resources as men, they could boost agricultural production and help lift 100 to 150 million people out of hunger’. The event will encourage women and offer them an array of opportunities to move from subsistence farming to commercial farming.

“The ministry, in accordance with the president’s commitment to empowering women, is dedicated to offering women equal opportunities and access to resources so as to grow and maintain their agribusiness – since this will not only alleviate poverty, but also create jobs and reduce the hunger rate remarkably.” These are profound words taken from a speech delivered by the Hon. Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, at the inaugural edition of the WOFAGRIC and Gold in the Soil Awards held in the Volta Region last year.

This profound comment would later become an apt endorsement, as the first edition of the Women in Food and Agricultural Leadership Forum & Expo (WOFAGRIC 2019) and the Gold in the Soil Awards recorded mammoth impacts last year.

This year, Agrihouse Foundation and its supporting partners are set to roll-out the second edition of Women in Food and Agricultural Leadership Forum & Expo (WOFAGRIC 2020) and the Gold in the Soil Awards set to take place from May 20-21 2020 in the Ashanti Region.

According to the organiser, Agrihouse Foundation, the project will focus on equipping agric-industry women with the capacity to improve production output. It will also assess the impact women have in shaping and directing the conversation on production, processing and marketing, policies, how farm-related components of rural economy can contribute to income generation and employment, and how women can rightfully take their place and tap into opportunities within the agric sector.

Agrihouse believes that a commitment to training women farmers is a guaranteed means of breaking the vicious cycle that leads to rural poverty – because the nurturing role that women play in families makes them a crucial linkage to improving the capacity of large sections of society.

The maiden edition of the event last year (2019), held in the Volta Region, enjoyed support from the Canadian Embassy; Ministry of Food and Agriculture; Women in Food and Agriculture Development (WIAD); National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners Association, Ghana; and The Volta Regional Coordinating Council, and provided a practical platform for advocacy. Over eight hundred women were empowered within 2-days, with over 85% of them recording business growth and a mindset change within a short time.

This year’s edition promises to be better, with plans already in place to empower participants through soft skills and competence-based training sessions.

The Gold in the Soil Awards, an award component of the initiative, seeks to appreciate outstanding achievements of women producing along the entire agricultural value chain (from production through to processing, branding and marketing). It is essentially an awards scheme that showcases the efforts of women agripreneurs, and celebrates their achievements and contributions to economic growth of their community and country, through a documentary.

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The spotlight is focused on the nominated women’s farms and businesses, and tells their story through a documentary series that dwells on passion, drive, excitement, challenges, short- and long-term vision, in a way designed to inspire and mentor viewers.

The event is structured to be held on a rotational basis yearly, to ensure there is an even spread of impacts from the event across the country. This, according to the organiser, will help to unearth heroic women in each region, and ultimately support to build a strong and organic database of women who are passionately supporting national growth through their varied efforts along the agric value chain.

Women recognised for Awards are either nominated or selected. This year, a new Award category, the ‘She Operates Award’, has been added to the categories – making it a total of fifteen (15) categories in all. The category details and descriptions can be found at www.Agrihousefoundation.com

The Gold in the Soil Awards have 15 categories. The Awards and category definitions are specially formulated to recompense hardworking and innovative women – many of whom have had little or no recognition for their undeniably colossal contributions to the local agric industry.

Passion for the Farm Award: This award recognises an individual 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, either 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 been or is working with the power of innovation and adding value to her agro business. Someone who has 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 by a group of women or a woman-led organisation in implementing an outstanding project in agriculture by adopting a climate-smart approach and practices which support in transformation and 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.

Outstanding Woman in Extension Services Award: This award provides recognition to women, in either the public or private sector, contributing effortlessly through training, capacity building, and advocacy to encourage the adoptation of best practices by farmers; thereby contributing significantly to 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: 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 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 see women in agriculture in her community develop and thrive, and is helping them in all ways possible through access to land, training, social impact programmes and advocacy.

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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 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, 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 export sales.

Development Partner Award: This award recognises the efforts of an International organisation whose works centres on agriculture, and in particular toward development of women in the community, encouraging the adoption of best practices while 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 modeling, advising, counseling and enhancing networks for other women, both young and old

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 recognizable impact on her community.

She-Operates: 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 impacting her community with her skill.

To ensure that the awards are representative, organisers have left entries open to women involved in agriculture from every district in Ghana. There can be direct entries or one can be nominated via filling out an application form online (www.agrihousefoundation.com) or picking a form from the offices of Agri-house foundation in Accra.

While potential entries will be encouraged to come in before the stipulated closing date (to be announced on the website soon), shortlisted nominations will be subsequently visited by a panel of judges and a media team for video coverage to be used in the Gold in the Soil documentary, and as a first-means of verifying nominees’ work to determine their eligibility or otherwise for an award category. All entries can be delivered through email via info@agrihousefoundation.com, agrihousefoundation@gmail.com

Undeniably, the WOFAGRIC and Gold in the Soil Awards are worthy initiatives which will help to not only attract and boost the interests of women in agribusiness, but also bring women’s contribution in agriculture to the forefront by showcasing their products and services.

The event will consequently expose rural farmers to adaptation with best practices in agricultural production, including the adoption of climate-smart agriculture.

Through the Gold in the Soil Awards and Documentary, women in the agric space will benefit from liberal visibility. This will further motivate other women to see role-models in these accomplished ‘womenpreneurs’.

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