The West African Regional Director of YARA International, Danquah Addo-Yobo, has lauded the achievements of the seventeen physically changed women farmers who have been nominated for the ‘Gold in the Soil Awards’.
He said while their presence in the awards scheme and at the Women in Food and Agriculture Leadership Training Forum (WOFAGRIC) will serve as encouragement for more women with physical challenges, their contributions to the country’s agricultural sector is sending a strong message about their potentials.
In line with this, he said YARA is particularly looking forward to empowering the three hundred (300) women farmers who will be at this year’s event, with new business practices and skills, to help them recover, grow and stand out.
As a leader in the fertilizer production and distribution space and an organization committed to knowledge sharing, he said YARA would be playing key roles in the practical training and mentoring sessions, as it does annually with the women.
“The platforms continue to provide our experts and agronomists opportunities to impact the women with knowledge on best farming and agronomic practices. We are looking forward to the mentorship sessions, to give the women the best recommendations on fertilizers for the right crops, and how to use them to ensure great yield and profitability,” he said.
WOFAGRIC and Gold in the Soil Awards, he noted, provide a unique and strategic platform for stakeholders in the value chain to present successful modules, agribusiness ideas, and practices to corporate and development partners, as well as individuals, who continue to have doubts about the profitability of agriculture.
“We are looking forward to the event creating more value-chain partnerships and support systems so that the participants will not only go back with farming knowledge but also find market opportunities and collaborations for their agric produce and products.”
He congratulated all the forty-five (45) women, farmers who have been shortlisted for the ‘Gold in the Soil Awards,’ and encouraged them to continue excelling in their chosen areas within the country’s agricultural value chain.
For her part, Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa Sarpong, revealed, that this year’s ‘Gold in the Soil Awards’ received a total of eight-two (82) nominations this year from the Western and Western North regions.
She said for the first time in four years, ‘Super Woman Farmer Award Category’ committed to recognising the exceptional efforts of Ghanaian women farmers with disabilities received significant entries; indicating a positive representation of the Foundations efforts over the past 3 years.
Ten-year-old Esther Ofori is receiving honorary recognition and support for her passion for agriculture, in spite of her physical challenges. Esther resides in Dzatokrom, in the Sewti Wiawso District of the Western North region.
In her ‘Gold in the Soil awards’ documentary, Esther reveals she cultivates a two-acre maize and yam farm. She shares with Agrihouse Foundation the challenges of living with a disability in a deprived community. While the documentary calls for support for Esther, it highlights her dedication to farming and her education.
According to Ms. Akosa Sarpong, Agrihouse Foundation is immensely touched by the super-human abilities of the ten-year-old farmer, and to honor her potential, the ‘Super Girl Farmer Award Category’ has been created especially for her.
Highlighting the remaining categories of the awards, she revealed the Passion for Farm category, which goes to a woman excited and passionate about agribusiness and contributing to the growth of her community, received 17% of the total entries.
She said the Foundation is also paying close attention to women operating in the areas of climate-smart farming, (CLIMATE SMART CATEGORY), the Lady of the Region Export Award Category, and the “She-Operator Award Category”, which has over the years received the lowest entries, with only 2.5% of total women submitting entries this year.
This is an indication that there is more room for improvement and some more work to do, and as a Foundation, we are looking forward to working, more closely with both the Private and Public institutions, development partners, and related agencies, to upgrade our knowledge of women in agriculture, to enhance productivity, growth, and expansion.
The remaining award categories, including Royal Agro Award, She Innovates, Outstanding Women in Extension Services, and Diamond in the rough Award, all received encouraging entries, between 10 to 18% nominations.
The Feed to Foods Awards, Star Woman Agripreneur Award, Princess Carla, and Change Champion Award, all pulled off average numbers, between 8 to 10% nominations.
“Generally, we are satisfied with the balanced representation in the remaining categories; as well as the number of women farmers and Agribusinesses represented in this year’s nominations,” Ms. Akosa Sarpong said.