The second edition of the Women in Food and Agricultural Leadership Forum (WOFAGRIC) and Gold in the Soil Awards has been launched in Accra last week, with an active call on all stakeholders to recognise and support Women in Agriculture.
The event themed: ‘’Transforming and Sustaining Women in Agriculture: The Role of Public, Private and Development Partners’’ aimed at recognising and rewarding outstanding women in the Agribusiness Value Chain. Present at the ceremony were Queen Mothers, women farmers, representatives from the agribusinesses, development partners and Government institutions.
In a speech read for her, the Acting Director for Women In Agricultural Development Directorate (WIAD) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture Ms. Paulina Addy stated that women constitute over half of Ghana’s agricultural labour force, producing over 70% of the country’s food stock, while 95% and 85% are involved in Agro Processing and Food Distribution respectively.
She added that despite the significant contributions of women in the sector, they are faced with numerous challenges, including socio-cultural and religious restrictions that hinder their work.
Ms. Addy said Government’s Gender and Agriculture Development Strategy II (GAD II) when implemented will help address the bottlenecks affecting women in Agriculture. She urged women in the sector to take advantage of the Planting and Rearing for Food and Jobs, Planting for Export and Rural Development programs which targets at least 40% of women in its implementation to boost their livelihoods.
First Secretary of the Canadian High Commission in Ghana, Marie-Claude Harvey, indicated that the theme for the Event perfectly aligns with Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy, which sees women empowerment as the best way to build a more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world. She stated that over the years, Canada has been working collaboratively with various institutions to advance gender equality.
She added that since 2017, her Country has provided funding for the ‘’Modernising Agriculture in Ghana program which is strongly associated with the investing for Food and Jobs initiative. Ms Harvey revealed that plans are underway to assist a group of selected women Farmer –Based Organisations on how to develop and add value to their agricultural produce.
In a keynote address, Former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, emphasised the importance of the contribution of women in National Development. She stressed the need for a more deliberate effort geared towards absolute women participation and engagement in all sectors of society. She added that until women are fully part of the national development strategy, Ghana cannot attain its total development status. She therefore advocated for more opportunities in leadership positions for women.
The Head of Agribusiness of Absa Ghana Ltd (formerly Barclays Bank Ghana), William Nettey, noted that the bank over the years has been supporting agribusinesses. He said with the transition to its current status, the bank is better positioned to support agribusinesses in Ghana, especially women-managed enterprises. According to Mr Nettey, products are being designed to meet the specific needs of Agribusinesses.
The executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, Alberta Nana Akyiaa Akosa stressed the need to appreciate and honour women for their role in agricultural production.
WOFAGRIC and Gold in the Soil Awards program was instituted by Agrihouse Foundation and sponsored by the Canadian High Commission, Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Absa, Women in Agriculture Development Directorate and the Association of Best Farmers and Fishermen. The event will be held from May 20-21, 2020 at Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.
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