Women form a greater proportion in Ghana’s agriculture value chain yet they struggle to get market accessibility for their produce. The advent and the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic have affected farming communities across the country, with women in agriculture being hit the hardest.
Upon seeking redress to this issue, Agrihouse Foundation has provided market accessibility for the women in the Agriculture value chain called AGROWOMAN MARKET PLACE.
“Our overall goal is to support women farmers and agribusinesses to recover fully, gain some stability, increase their income, enhance the nutrition of households and support the livelihoods of women farmers, by developing and providing them with a WOMEN-ONLY online and direct marketing platform, to sell and market their products and services basically at no cost,” Alberta Akyaa Akosa, the Executive Director of Agrichouse Foundation said.
Agrowoman marketplace is an innovative way of influencing food systems and market access for smallholders as it creates value for the agri-food chain.
According to her, contactless payments have become the norm amid the worldwide pandemic response, the platform when developed and rolled out would help farmers avoid physical contact with buyers and cash transactions as they sell their produce in direct compliance to social distancing which would reduce the spread of infections.
Speaking to Agric Today, Madam Alberta said the Foundation seeks to use the event to highlight, ‘International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste,’ commemorated annually on September 29, to highlight the critical need to reduce food loss and wastage around the world. She said there are two phases of the Agric-Women Market Place and they are Direct Market Place which would be held on the Last Friday of Every Month and the Digital/Online Market Place which would be an online marketplace, created by women, for women and managed by women.
“Agrihouse Foundation will be leading the commemoration of this day in the country, come September, as part of efforts to support Ghanaian women farmers and also, highlighting the issue of post-harvest losses, which is a big challenge in the agricultural sector”, she added.
She called on Ghanaians, and all stakeholders in the agricultural sector to mark the date on their calendars, and use it as an opportunity to push forward and support events and projects that scale up the efforts of Ghanaian women farmers, as they face intensified agricultural challenges in these times of COVID-19.
To cushion the women in market accessibility, the communication officer of Ghana Commodity Exchange, Madam Roselyn Siaw said the institution has provided market accessibility for the commodities that are listed on the exchange market.
“We have warehouses at Ejura, Bolgatanga, Wenchi, Kintampo, Tamale, Tumu, Sandema, etc. any farmer (woman) who has a product that has been listed on the exchange should store it at our warehouse after harvesting. Our warehouses are fumigated, cleaned, we dry and repackage the produce to meet the standards to appeal to the international market”, she explained.
Aside provision of the warehouse for the storage of farm produce, Mrs. Siaw said the institution has partnered with certain banks to give loans to farmers without any collateral. She noted that any farmer whose produce is at the warehouse is issued a receipt and when the receipt is submitted to the banks at the areas where the warehouses are situated loans would be granted to them.
She urged all women in the agriculture sector to take advantage of their products and services to grow and scale up their businesses.
Speaking to some of the women in agriculture at the event, Margaret Afriyie, a nurse and a farmer extolled Agrihouse Foundation for such a wonderful initiative to provide market access for the women in the agriculture sector.
She underscored how she combines her nursing work with farming. To her, she engages the community members in her farming business. “The community members are my backbone in the agribusiness, I cannot do without them. I make sure I involve them in all my activities, in fact, they are the main reason for the agribusiness”, she said
She challenged other women in agriculture to work sedulously irrespective of where they find themselves in the value chain to achieve their goals.