Championing agric growth, sustainability through queen mothers


As part of effort to strengthen working relationships and collaborative efforts among queen mothers, traditional leaders and stakeholders in the agribusiness community, Agrihouse Foundation, last week, held the 5th edition of its annual ‘Gathering of the Royals and Stakeholders Meeting’ in Accra.

This year’s event was on the theme: ‘Championing Agri-growth through our Queen Mothers – The Agri Booster Module”.

The event pulled together eighty-six queen mothers and traditional leaders, together with key stakeholders from the field of academia, policy, government, development agencies and Agric institutions. They were in the persons of the Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture, Hon. Yaw Frimpong Addo; Madam Garcia Honvoh Chabi, who is the Senior Commercial Advisor for the Embassy of Denmark; COP/ Mrs. Habiba Y. A. Twumasi-Sarpong, Director-General of Welfare, Ghana Police Service; Madam Dorothy Effah, Policy Officer for AGRA; and Dr. Andoh Mensah from CSRI, Coconut and Oil Palm Research; among others.

While the event was colourful and attracted a list of high-profiled personalities whose efforts cut across the agricultural value chain, it also made room for very important dialogues and panel conversations that were aimed at highlighting challenges as well as solutions that can ignite positive developments within the country’s agricultural sector.

Contributing remarks by key speakers

Executive Director of Agrihouse – “Prioritise Agribusiness collaborations and partnerships”

In her opening remarks, Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa, urged queen mothers and traditional leaders to prioritise their relationships with agribusiness communities.

She said even as the Gathering of the Royals event aims at supporting the sector in this light, it is equally important that queen mothers and traditional leaders make the most of the opportunities being created by the event.

The Executive Director noted that the event, has over the years, helped to strengthen the provision of extension services to farmers in the rural areas while it also continues to work with agribusiness leaders and organisations to initiate agri-focused community projects for the empowerment of women farmers, the youth, and persons with disabilities in rural areas and farming communities.

Touching on impacts, she added: “We realised that in some areas, extension officers were not even going there; but because of the programme, we have extension officers going there”.

Furthermore, through this initiative, we have been able to work with traditional leaders and queen mothers to introduce key interventions, a key one being the 1-household 1-garden initiative where we received great support from AGRA.

Again, we have been able to get input dealers like OCP and Yara, who have gone into the communities to embark on key trainings using the queen mothers as the community entry point, she added.

Ms. Akosa, therefore, encouraged the queen mothers and traditional leaders to make the most of the platform as she urged government, development partners and agric institutions who were present at the event to offer more technical and financial support.

Madam Dorothy Effah – “Agriculture contributes to wealth and food security”

Accepting her place as Chairperson for the event, Policy Officer at AGRA, Madam Dorothy Effah, reiterated her commitment to work with Agrihouse Foundation, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ministry of Chieftaincy, and all value chain actors to ensure that issues highlighted during the panel discussions and policy dialogues are addressed with the right recommendations and solutions.

“It is important to have good conversations on our agricultural sector, and that is the wisest decision because agriculture contributes to wealth as well as food security; and what even makes me happier is the focus on the role that queen mothers play in boosting agricultural growth,” she stressed.

She added: “We’ve realised that in the past few years, most women continue to contribute to agricultural growth. However, queen mothers are paramount in this regard as they play a vital role in our various communities. And I very much hope that our queen mothers continue to play this critical role to improve in their communities”.

Hon. Yaw Frimpong Addo – “Gov’t committed to improving agric financing”

For his part, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Yaw Frimpong Addo, noted that while agri-financing remains a challenge, government is committed to working with stakeholders to bring positive changes to the issue.

He said it is quite unfortunate that pushing adequate financing into the sector has been a daunting task for most agricultural ministers over the years. However, he said with all hands on deck to gather and sustain the momentum in the agric sector, the sector is bound to see propelling growth and development.

“Experience over the years has shown that government cannot solely transform the agriculture of a country. All hands are needed on deck to gather and sustain the momentum for propelling the growth and development of the agriculture sector,” he noted.

Touching on government efforts in the sector, he said the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme has allowed for a 50 percent subsidy on citified seeds and fertilisers to over 1.5 million farmers since the introduction of the intervention.

The programme, he noted, has also allowed for the establishment of greenhouse villages at Dawhenya in the Greater Accra Region, Bawjiasi in the Central Region, and Akim Oda in the Eastern Region as part of effort to modernse Ghana’s agriculture through the production of high value vegetables and food crops for export and the domestic market, adding that the establishment of mechanisation centres throughout the country as part of government mechanisation drive for the agriculture sector provides the needed services to farmers to ease frustrations associated with the obsolete method of production.

“Ladies and gentlemen, these interventions of government in the agriculture sector should give us hope because they provide enormous opportunities for venturing into agriculture as a viable business enterprise, particularly for the unemployed,” he noted.

He praised Agrihouse Foundation for investing in Gathering of the Royals, which compliments government efforts in the agric sector.

COP/Mrs. Habiba Yaa Akyere Twumasi -Sarpong – “Protect peace within farming communities”

The Director-General of Welfare for the Ghana Police Service, COP/Mrs. Habiba Yaa Akyere Twumasi -Sarpong, reiterated the need for peaceful social development as a key factor to agricultural growth and sustainability.

She said the two cannot be separated and underestimated when it comes to agric development. “This is because without peace we cannot farm, and without food there will be no peace,” she stressed.

She said while the agric sector has, unfortunately, been the central point for most conflicts in the world, it has also been the backbone of most low-income countries, Ghana included, serving as a major contributor to economic growth.

“In many parts of the world, families are either fighting over fertile lands for farming or land boundaries, resulting in a lot of land litigation that can also lead to conflicts or violence,” she noted. She added that it is, therefore, imperative for custodians and stakeholders in the agricultural sector to work assiduously for the sustainability of agri-peace in the country.

According to her, individual farmers, especially animal farmers, agro business owners and warehouse operators in the sector must consider installing enhanced security cameras which can record both night and day at strategic locations of their businesses, such as the entry and exit points.

She also urged business owners to know the Police Emergency Contact numbers to swiftly contact the Police in times of emergency. She also urged queen mothers to liaise with committee members to select men and women of high integrity in the communities for the purpose of forming neighbourhood watch committee /groups.

COP Habiba Akyere Twumasi advised the queen mothers to inform the Police District Command to ensure necessary documentation processes, training and inauguration of the group to commence work.

Royal panel and policy dialogue – “Queen mothers call for improved agric- financing”

The eight-member queen mother panel discussion was moderated by Mr. Samuel Oduro, Managing Director of Selovo. The queens included Nana Okom Egua II, Amosima Hemaa and Nyinfa Hemaa of the Asebu Traditional Council of Central Region, who is a commercial fish farmer; Madam Evelyn Andoh, the 2022 Gold in the Soil Ultimate award-winner from Western Region, who owns 108 acres of farmland and growing plantain, cocoa, oil palm, cassava, cocoyam and vegetables; the Queen mother of Nandom, Upper West Region, Pognaa Leticia Tantuo, who owns 14 acres farmland and is into the farming of maize, soyabean, poultry and sheep; and from the Volta Region, Mama Yorfomi Gliqui II of Dzodze Apete, who is a rice, maize and cassava farmer and processor, owning 150 acres farmland.

The Queen Mothers all stressed on the need for financial institutions in agro businesses and agricultural stakeholders to come on board and support them to be able to farm on a large scale. Taking her turn to speak, the Queen Mother for Azodze Apetepe in the Volta Region, Mama Yorfomi Gliqui II, called for financial assistance from the government, agric stakeholders and others to increase their productivity.

Also contributing to the discussion, the Queen Mother for Nandom, Pognaa Leticia Tantuo, also called on financial institutions to reduce interest rate on loans, urged the government and stakeholders to support women in farming with mechanised farm tools, and train women and farmers in the communities in food processing in order to prevent crop and food spoilage.

Madam Evelyn Andoh, who is the winner for the 2022 Gold in the Soil awards, thanked the foundation for awarding her with a tricycle. According to her, it has really helped her to transport her harvest to the market. The queen mothers also commended the Agrihouse Foundation for the marvelous work they are doing to improve agriculture in the community and the country as a whole.

The policy dialogue, also moderated by the Paramount Queen Mother of Tuobodom – Nana Akua Amoah II – with panelists, including Nana Hemaa Awindor, Development Queen Mother Of Ayigya-Kwabre East; Dominic Donkor, Managing Partner of Agromonti Ltd.; Kojo Akoto Boateng of New Age Group, contributing to factors to help improve the agricultural sector.

Chairperson’s final remarks

Giving the chairperson’s final remarks, the Policy Officer for AGRA, Madam Dorothy Effah, stated that  agriculture plays a crucial role in the development of a country; so there is the need to take it seriously. She added that she is very much committed to working with Agrihouse Foundation and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and queen mothers to help improve the agricultural sector. She however called on value chain actors, stakeholders, businesses and organisations to come on board to help support and improve the agricultural sector.

She added that agricultural insurance must be a priority to farmers. In view of that, AGRA and National Insurance Commission have come together to pilot agricultural insurance for farmers, of which she urged every farmer to take advantage. She also stressed on the fact that AGRA is committed to helping women and youths who are into farming. Madam Dorothy Effah commended Agrihouse Foundation for helping the agricultural sector through their many programmes and initiatives.

The event ended on a high note, with Mr. Samuel Oduro outlining the call to action that Agrihouse Foundation, queen mothers, government and stakeholders must follow to help improve the agricultural sector from now to next year. Some of these calls to action include:

  1. Queen mothers and farmers must begin to diversify farm produce.
  2. Enhance capacity-building; thus, train and empower queen mothers, women, the physically challenged and vulnerable to be productive.
  3. Urge value chain players to visit farming communities and provide value added support for them.
  4. Charge the media and influencers to help create advocacy for farmers.
  5. Call on research and educational institutions to intensify research and development to improve planting materials.

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