FLASHBACK: Ruth Adolwina Awintanga, Miss Agriculture 2023, being decorated
FLASHBACK: Ruth Adolwina Awintanga, Miss Agriculture 2023, being decorated

Miss Agriculture Ghana: Growing interest in ladies in agric

In 2018, the 2nd Runner-up of the TV3 reality show Ghana Most Beautiful, Oheneba Akosua Kyerewaa Yeboah-Ghansah, took it upon herself to change the perception of agriculture among ladies in the country.

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Her philosophy has been that a lady could engage in agriculture and still be beautiful and so introduced a reality show dubbed, Miss Agriculture Ghana.

The show does not just focus only on agriculture, but on everything about a beauty reality show, such as catwalk, fashion, eloquence and beautiful looks.

The rationale behind the show is that farming has gone beyond the preserve of the aged, illiterate or school dropout, but is now a serious business, for making real money.

Criteria

The reality show essentially portrays that as young women they can farm and still remain beautiful in their farming costumes.

To participate in the contest, a contestant must have interest in agriculture, must have started an activity along the agribusiness value chain or must have been interested in starting such an activity, and should fall within the age range of 18 to 30.

Growing interest

The last five years have witnessed a growing interest among young ladies in the show, with most of the contestants from the various tertiary educational institutions and some ladies who are already pursuing some agricultural projects along the agricultural value chain.

Leveraging on beauty pageant as a tool to mobilise and mentor youth and women for enhanced agripreneurship, wealth creation, employment generation and food security, the reality show attracts young ladies from the 16 regions with diverse ideas, projects and innovative initiatives that can contribute to the massive involvement and growth of women and youth in agribusiness in the country.

From 25 contestants in the maiden reality show in 2018, the figure jumped to 45 in 2019, in 2020 a total of 65 participated, hitting 83 in 2021 and in 2022, a total of 103 participated with 2023 recording the highest of 113 ladies contesting.

The interesting aspect of it all is that all the winners since the inception of the show are currently successfully either pursuing mainstream farming, rearing, processing, packaging or marketing agricultural produces.

Roll call

For instance, the winner of the maiden edition, Afriyie Obeng-Fosu, is into mushroom production, though an agric economist and Agric Officer of the Adenta Municipal Authority (AdMA), while Margaret Afriyie, who won the second edition in 2019 is into vegetable production.
Naliz Sakitey, Miss Agriculture 2020, who ventured into animal rearing, currently mans a poultry farm and is also producer of chicken spice, while Rendy Abam, who won the contest in 2021, is a successful greenhouse vegetable farmer.

Hannah Larten, the 2022 winner stands tall in cassava value-chain production, while Ruth Adolwina Awintanga, who is the reigning champion, rears guinea fowl.

Their contribution to the agricultural value chain is significant and has a cascading effect on the growth of the sector, as they have become role models, attracting young ladies into the sector.

2024 Edition

The 2024 edition, which would be the seventh edition, has kick-started with the deadline being next Monday, February 12, after which, a panel of judges would access the link already created for applicants to file their candidature for the awards, and shortlist the successful applicants.

For three months, the contestants would showcase what they have to offer and what they would do if given the nod.

 They would also present their projects for verification and be subjects of strict screening.

At the end, five young ladies will showcase their interest and projects in agriculture that they hope to pursue after the contest, eloquence in articulating issues and generally, their appearance, in order to catch the eyes of the judges to be able to lift the crown as the overall winner.

The ladies, as part of the competition, would also be taken through industrial tour, where the contestants visit agricultural industries to serve as a bridge between academia and industry for the ladies to appreciate the sector better.

Briefing the Daily Graphic, Mrs Yeboah-Ghansah explained that “this will be followed by a virtual interview to select semi-finalists, which will then be followed by an in-person tour to visit the semi-finalists in their various regions to ascertain whatever is in their applications”.

She said 10 final contestants would be shortlisted to compete on April 12, 2024, to be hosted in the Ashanti Region, with the overall prize of GH¢10,000 seed fund.

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“Every year, through the Women in Agriculture Directorate (WIAD) under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, in partnership with the Chamber of Women in Agribusiness (CHAWA) Ghana, the Queen has a spot to attend the National Farmers Day celebrations,” she told the Daily Graphic. 

Experience

Speaking on her experience, she said it had been a learning process each year, capitalising on latest trends that could support the agenda in getting more young women into the agribusiness sector.

Mrs Yeboah-Ghansah said there had been a major impact through the Miss Agriculture Ghana project based on the testimonies of contestants who had gone through the contest, the reports on the grounds and feedback.

“The various projects of the contestants do not just impact their lives but also the lives of small holder farmers in their various communities and create jobs in a small way for themselves.”

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“Also, most of these ladies build their confidence through the Miss Agriculture Ghana platform and are able to pitch for other bigger opportunities out there and this is all the platform seeks to do,” she added.

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