The Feed the Future USAID Financing Ghanaian Agriculture Project (USAID FinGAP), in collaboration with MEL Consulting Limited, a Business Advisory Service (BAS) provider within the Project’s network, held a “Women in Agribusiness Development” Summit on December 5, 2017, at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra. The purpose of the Summit was to highlight the contributions of women in Ghana’s agriculture sector. It was attended by 246 people (100 male and 146 female). This included women-led agribusinesses, farmers, processors, business advisory service providers, financial institutions, Government of Ghana representatives, and development partners.
The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Madam Otiko Afisa Djaba; USAID/Ghana Mission Director Sharon L. Cromer; Nestlé West and Central Africa’s Head of Agricultural Services, Fatih Ermis; and Rick Dvorin, Chief of Party of USAID FinGAP were the main speakers during the opening ceremony.
Rick Dvorin indicated in his opening remarks that, “One of the ways to ensure food security is to finance women-led or women-owned agribusiness enterprises. The percentage payback on loans to women is 100%! So let’s increase the number of loans to women…and the amounts of financing as well. It makes good business sense in enhancing and ensuring food security in Ghana.” He added that USAID FinGAP has facilitated financing of over $140 million to over 2,500 SMiLEs, approximately 1,000 (39%) are female-led SMiLEs.
The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisa Djaba and USAID/Ghana Mission Director Sharon L. Cromer called on private sector players, especially financial sector players, to support women in agribusiness by offering flexible loan conditions and soft loans to give them access to as many productive resources as men. She congratulated USAID FinGAP for providing business and technical support to increase women’s access to financing to expand their operations which directly complement government efforts.
Sharon L. Cromer indicated, “Like their male counterparts, women in agribusinesses are constrained by the lack of access to finance. Together, with the Ghanaian government and development partners, we are working to ensure that women-led businesses gain access to finance to expand their operations.” She was assisted by the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection with presenting awards to 10 agribusinesses for excelling and contributing to the growth of female-led agribusinesses in the maize, rice, and soy value chains supported by USAID FinGAP.
Fatih Ermis, Head of Nestlé West and Central Africa’s Agricultural Services, said the Nestlé Cereal Plan program is helping farmers, including women, increase their yields and income through crop productivity and quality enhancement projects involving training on good agronomic practices in order to reduce the high levels of mycotoxins contaminations in their produce.
The Summit promoted investment opportunities and linked women-led agribusinesses to business advisory service providers and financial institutions. It featured panel discussions on finance and business support for women-led agribusinesses, as well as business-to-business (B2B) meetings. The B2B meetings linked 55 women-led agribusinesses to six BAS Providers and eight FIs resulting in the initiation of over $4.1M in agribusiness deals for financing into the maize, rice, and soy value chains. These deals will be followed up by the BAS providers for the facilitation of the SMiLEs’ financing.
Some quotes from the Women in Agribusiness Development Summit:
“The Summit provided us with a lot of learning and networking opportunities for the future. Myself and a few other women have initiated the formation of a network of women in the maize, soy and poultry value chains to share information and knowledge on trends and market opportunities.” – Gladys Sampson, General Manager, Premium Foods Limited.
“I am honored by the recognition and award from USAID FinGAP for my work in the rice value chain. I believe this award, in addition to the First Runner Up – National Best Farmer 2017 Award received last week, will encourage more women to venture into agribusiness which has been very profitable for me.” – Mabel-Ann Akoto-Kwudzo, CEO, Okata Farms and Food Processing Limited.
“I have been inspired by this event. Seeing my fellow woman, Mabel-Ann Akoto-Kwudzo, CEO of Okata Farms, achieve so much in the agricultural field has motivated me to aim for the sky.” – Margaret Awuenyogu, Adabi Women’s Group, Upper East Region.
“I appreciate the honor done me. The award is indeed a real motivation to move the Apex Body of Women in Poultry Value Chain forward. We shall continue to count on USAID FinGAP’s support to achieve our objectives. Members have testified about the exposure and stated that it was ‘an eye opener.” – Victoria Norgbey, Apex Body of Women in Poultry Value Chain
“We thank USAID FinGAP for inviting Africa Lead to the Summit. It was very inspiring and there was a lot of knowledge sharing and learning that happened!” – Toni Mpoy, Grants & Internships Manager, West Africa Regional Office Africa Lead.