The Dutch founded programme, HortiFresh by its project HortiFresh Female Business Accelerator Program through MDF West Africa has successfully strengthened the capacity of thirteen (13) female-led horticultural businesses to be robust and resilient in the horticulture sector.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony of the second cohort at the Mensvic Grand hotel in Accra, the Project Manager of HortiFresh West Africa Mrs. Sheila Assibey-Yeboah says the training covers the entire horticulture value chain being producers, processors, and service providers owned or led by a woman.
“The sessions were to equip the women with the tools needed to be stout in the horticulture business. As most businesses started as small cottage industries, the processes to guide a good transition might not be put in place, however, with this training, the women are given tools to work in an environment such that if they are not around production could go on”, Mrs. Sheila Assibey-Yeboah mentioned.
According to her, the training encouraged female-led businesses to involve professional services like agronomists, quality control officers, and other services to improve productivity and help with business plans to make the businesses attractive to any financial institution for funding.
For market accessibility for the female-led horticulture businesses, she explained that the market is part of the criteria and it is the market that drives the enterprise. She revealed that they all have markets and without a vibrant market it is impossible to sustain in the business world.
“As partners to the project, we have been training the women in business management, financial preparation and encouraging them to be leaders of their agribusinesses to upscale production and compete on the market”, the Project Coordinator at MDF West Africa, Joana Chemel said.
She commended the 13 women for the successful completion of the program and urged them to adhere to and implement all the tools to improve the quality of the produce.
Esther Owusu Nkwantabisa, a beneficiary of the HortiFresh Female Business Accelerator Program commended HortiFresh for strengthening her capacity in business strategy, operations, sales and marketing, human resource, business management, and financial management.
“The journey has been stressful but worth it, running business and learning is not an easy task but I commend the coaches for their time and patients during the six months of training”, she said.
The confronting challenges to the business before the training were record-keeping and human resource management, but the training has given me an insight and has equipped me to curb these challenges, Esther Ofori Boadu, a beneficiary said.
In an interview with Agric Today, she explained that the training has built her capacity to be export ready, investment-ready, and how to access cost involve as against income and regulations that business needs to comply with from GRA, FDA, and GSA that startups think it is unnecessary.
She called on the government, policymakers, and stakeholders in the agriculture value chain to make inputs and finance accessible to the women in the agribusiness. She urged the government to put measures in place for the young businesses who want to export to thrive.
HortiFresh is a programme supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands which has prioritized commercial agriculture in its strategic plan of moving from aid trade. The programme’s mission is to establish a sustainable and internationally competitive fruit and vegetable sector that contributes to inclusive economic growth, and food and nutrition security in Ghana and Ivory Coast. The Programme aims to reach 15000 farmers and increase their productivity by 20% by 2021.
MDF is a Training and Consultancy organization with 35 years of experience in providing management training, advisory, and evaluation services worldwide. We believe in building on existing knowledge and experiences to create long-lasting effects. Our services are diverse but have three things in common – they are driven by new concepts and theories, are practical, and lead to new insights.