WOFAGRIC 2019: Rewarding Excellence; Partnering Women to Shape Agribusiness in Ghana

Exhibitors and Participants at WOFAGRIC. Image by Agrihouse Foundation

According to The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 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. This claim is not only interesting: it represents an apparent narrative that we have inexplicably managed to sidestep.

In Ghana, majority of the women are engaged in agriculture as their main economic activity. Many of these women are the breadwinners of their families. It is out of their sweat that children are fed, clothed and school fees paid. Research has it that women produce 80 per cent of crops and own about one per cent of land.

Culturally, in most parts of Ghana women do not own land even though they form a good percentage of agriculture workforces. The lack of access to land is making it difficult for the women to engage in commercial agriculture. Also, because of lack of resources, they do not have access to hired labor and tractor services.

They struggle on their small farms alone, hence their engagement in subsistence farming. Furthermore, lack of market research and information, limits women farmers to market opportunities, as they are confined to local markets where prices are generally lower than in urban markets.

The Volta region has recently emerged as an area for focus in agricultural production. Available statistics show that the region makes a mammoth contribution to the nation’s food basket. This forms part of the reasons for Agrihouse Foundation and partners’ decision to pitch tent in the Volta Region for the maiden edition of the WOMEN IN FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL LEADERSHIP FORUM & EXPO (WOFAGRIC 2019) and the GOLD IN THE SOIL AWARDS.

Billed under the theme,“Women! Key Partners in Shaping Agribusiness.” the Women in Food and Agric Leadership Forum (WOFAGRIC) & The Gold in the Soil Awards, will take place from Wednesday, June 12th -Thursday, June 13th, 2019 at the Stevens Hotel, Volta Region.

WOFAGRIC is expected to move to a different region every year, so all women can embrace and leverage on the platform.

The conceptual undertone for the project will focus on equipping agricultural-focused 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 in the opportunities within the agricultural sector.

Exhibitor at WOFAGRIC event

While emphasis on women in agriculture has largely focused on the Northern Region in recent years, the partners consider other regions including the Volta Region an ‘unsung hero’ that has rather unjustifiably endured underwhelming attention despite the impact of their industrious women in the agricultural value chain and are confident that WOFAGRIC and the GOLD IN THE SOIL AWARDS  will pay a key role in projecting women in agriculture in each and every region.

This initiative is expected to become a sustainable platform  for women in agriculture to have a share of voice, share ideas, train and empower each other,  discuss issues pertinent to women in the industry, promote by showcasing through exhibitions, the works, products and services of women in Agriculture. The 2-day event will focus on smallholder women farmers, female-led start-up agribusinesses, and women achievers in Agriculture. The event would have actionable capacity building sessions alongside.

The GOLD IN THE SOIL AWARDS, which climaxes WOFAGRIC will also pay tribute to the efforts and contribution by women, young female ‘agripreneurs’, female students, physically challenged women, agricultural corporate leaders, innovators, extension officers, climate-smart agriculture champions and traditional leaders for their roles toward ensuring food security, poverty alleviation, employment creation and ultimately helping the economy.

ACTIVITIES FOR THE 2-DAY EVENT

Activities lined up to ensure that participants benefit optimally from the maiden edition of the initiative include:

  • Leadership Training
    • Mentorship & Guidance Dialogue
    • Panel Discussion on Key Issues affecting women in Agribusiness
    • Focused Training programmes for women seeking to venture into agriculture
    • Empowerment Talk
    • Exhibitions
    • Documentary and Awards (Gold in the Soil Awards)

Key topics that will be discussed include:

  1. How to start and manage agricultural production and agribusiness
  2. The essence of Marketing and Branding in Agribusiness
  3. How can women use agricultural production and agribusiness to bring solutions to Ghana’s economic, social and environmental challenges?
  4. Climate smart agricultural approach and practises
  5. Farming for Export, Promotion and Development

Benefits

WOFAGRIC and the GOLD IN THE SOIL AWARDS seeks to recognize pioneers and trailblazers, the women who push the boundaries along the value chain. From the days of Adam to Tetteh – Quarshie, men have been considered to be at the forefront of agriculture. Women who have dared to challenge this stereotype.

Though there has been a lot of work to increase visibility of women achievers in all industries, women still need and want to see other women role models.

Identifying exceptional women who others can relate to via women-only awards is a step in providing the much-needed examples currently lacking in many traditional awards. The end goal would be to have a level playing field among the genders but currently, we do not. Women are outnumbered by men in the executive talent pool in almost all industries for a number of culturally-bias reasons.

The organizers believe there has to be a paradigm shift in this regard by projecting women achievers in agribusiness. It also aims to promote networking among women achievers in agribusiness and propel them to do more collectively.

Participation will cut across smallholder women in Agriculture, rural women in Agriculture, youth in Agriculture, women achievers and agripreneurs in Agriculture whiles building capacity, alongside the 2-day event.

WOFAGRIC will unfold under three (3) main segments thus:

1/ WOFAGRIC Exhibitions of Agriculture production and value added products, improved technologies and everything Agriculture.

The exhibition will bring together all the relevant women actors within the sector with the potential to stimulate increased staple crop productivity among small holder farmers including women. It will focus on Innovation bringing together buyers and sellers of the latest technology of products and services to make your business successful.

2/ The WOFAGRIC Mentorship Dialogue, workshops and conference

This will be organized alongside the two-day exhibition to help build capacity of women farmers, entrepreneurs and women in agriculture. It also aims at providing a platform to exchange best practices and share valuable lessons learnt in handling and overcoming challenges in agribusiness.

It also seeks to facilitate dialogue between various actors in the Agribusiness space among women. It will present the platform to catalyze actions and refine their interventions in order to better respond to the needs; Advocate for inclusive value chains and agricultural market systems to support women in agribusiness.

3/ The WOFAGRIC Awards (Gold in the Soil Awards)

Gold in the Soil Awards: The awards sessions aim at recognizing 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, organized to celebrate them

The Awards will have fourteen (14) categories:

  • Passion for the Farm Awards: The award recognizes those who have achieved excellence in their field or demonstrated an extraordinary contribution to the agribusiness industry.This category targets awarding women who are farming (production level) in their own right or in a partnership. These women should have made essential contribution(s) to the success and profitability of the farm dovetailing into creation of jobs and improving the economy of the country.
  • She-innovates Award: This category seeks to look out for a woman who looked at the community in relation to the farm, identified challenges and saw immense opportunity through diversification and eventually makes a success story out of that business idea by adding value through creating, innovation or invention.
  • Climate-Smart Women Project Award:  This award will provide 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.
  • Woman in Extension Services Award: This award will also provide 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 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 in Ag Award (Woman Agripreneur Award): This special recognition goes out to a young woman, already with great achievements in the agribusiness industry and inspiring her community, the country and putting the country on the International map.
  • Royal Agro: 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, is helping them in all ways possible through access to land, training, social impact programs and advocacy.
  • Diamond in the Rough Award:   This award will unearth the works, efforts, contribution and potentials of a promising woman, leading the agro space in her own way, though not seen or recognized, but has the capabilities to be outstanding and be a shining agriculture / agribusiness star.
  • Feed to Food Livestock, Poultry & Fisheries Awards: This is to a woman with great determination and integrity who has continuously demonstrated a positive role in livestock, poultry or fisheries 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 and Fisheries sector.
  • The Change Champion Award: This category goes to the professional 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 recognises and rewards the region’s most successful and innovative woman exporter, regardless of the size of the business or the export sales
  • Development Partner Award: This award recognizes the efforts of an International and local organization, whose works centers 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, who employs all the standards and best practices in her agro business and in her on way, engages, inspire and train other women in her community to take agriculture as a business and adopt best practices to enhance productivity and increase yield
  • Gold in the Soil Award: This is the ultimate award of WOFAGRIC which seeks to appreciate the outstanding achievements of a woman producing along the entire agricultural value chain (from production through to processing, branding and marketing). Also measuring and recognizing the impact of her establishment to her community.

Criteria for Selection

The awards are open to women aged 18 and above from every district in Ghana. There can be direct entries or one could be nominated by friends or family by filling in an application form online or picking a form from the offices of Agrihouse Foundation, WIAD office or the National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners Association of Ghana office (NFFAWAG)

Nomination package must include:

1. A typed profile, not to exceed 500 words, describing the agriculture-focused work of the nominee and in their community.

2. Two nominators, providing letters of recommendation (not to exceed one page each) and contact information.

3. The nominee’s contact information.

WOFAGRIC forms part of efforts to empower women, promote their works, expand their horizon, recognize and award their works and further mentor and inspire other women to venture into Agribusiness.

This year’s event is being organized in collaboration with Agrihouse Foundation, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Women in Food and Agriculture Development (WIAD), National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners Association and the Volta Regional Coordinating Council.

Agricinghana Media is a Media Partner for this initiative.

Launch of WOFAGRIC 2019 at Best Western Premier Hotel, Accra

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