Former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings has challenged stakeholders in the agribusiness value chain to prioritize women farmers when it comes to the offer of grants and capacity building. 

Speaking at the launch of the Women in Food and Agriculture (WOFAGRIC) and the Gold in the Soil Awards, Nana Konadu highlighted the economic benefits of women empowerment to agriculture development.

“Women are highly capable of contributing massively to the agriculture sector. From my years as the first lady, I have seen the strength and courage of these women and how much of an impact they keep having on the agriculture sector. We have no excuse not giving them the needed support to thrive,” she stated.

In Ghana, the majority of 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 the 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 women to engage in commercial agriculture. Also, because of lack of resources, they do not have access to hired labour and tractor services.

First Secretary at the Canadian High Commission, Marie-Claude Harvey revealed: “the Canadian government is pushing millions of dollars in investment to expand and improve the competitiveness of women farmers as well as prepare them for the European market.”

Meanwhile, Head of SME Banking at ABSA Ghana, Audrey Abakah, explained new moves by her outfit to provide more funding to female farmers and entrepreneurs.

“When you look at our statistics, you will find that in our Agribusiness value chain, women contribute about 70 per cent to the sector. Sadly, the financial resources given to these women has been woefully inadequate. That’s why as a bank we have chosen to associate with this laudable initiative.”

The Women in Food and Agriculture (WOFAGRIC) and the Gold in the Soil Awards is aimed at transforming and sustaining women in agriculture.

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 the 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.

The Gold in the Soil Awards will 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.