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Beauty with an agricultural purpose

Adorable Akos, the CEO and founder of Uniting Women for Agricultural Development Foundation (UWAD) in Ghana tells about the Miss Agriculture Ghana Pageant in an interview with Kofi Kisiedu Acquaye, Program Officer- YPARD Africa. This pageant comes off on the 20th of October 2018 at the M-Plaza Hotel in Accra under the theme Women in agriculture; a sure way for food security. Akosua, a former contestant herself in the Ghana’s Most Beautiful pageant tells how unique the Miss Agriculture Ghana experience is.

Enjoy the interview below.

Kofi: What is Miss Agriculture Ghana about?

Akosua: It is an initiative of UWAD. UWAD was formed to bring out programs to support women and young people in agriculture; encouraging women to take up agriculture as a profitable venture. One of such programs we have come up with is the project pageant, Miss Agriculture Ghana. We call it a project pageant and not a beauty pageant because the young participants are auditioned for the contest based on their innovative ideas along the agricultural value chain. The pageant is to encourage young women’s ideas to help create jobs for women in the agricultural sector. The contestants are involved in various aspects of agriculture: poultry production, mushroom production, vegetable production, fruit and vegetable processing, advocacy, promotion of backyard gardening, among others.

Some contestants of Miss Agriculture Ghana

Kofi: How long has this initiative been running?

Akosua: We started the project pageant in the year 2017 under the name Miss UWAD to explore the interest of all stakeholders. The new name, Miss Agriculture Ghana has now been patented and trademarked under the UWAD Foundation in consultation with the partners.

Kofi: What activities does the lineup to the climax entail?

Akosua: It is a thirteen-week program which started with the audition stage through which twelve contestants were selected. The young ladies are then engaged in various activities: mentoring programs in relation to their fields of endeavour in agriculture; training on public speaking; farm visits and industrial visits among others. They are also given tasks to perform based on their personal involvement in agriculture. We will eventually crown the winner based on the feasibility of programs they are able to birth out with the aim of creating job opportunities for women in agriculture.

Kofi: What makes Miss Agriculture Ghana unique and different from other pageants?

Akosua: The photo shoot sessions we organize are evidence-based showing the involvement of our contestants in agriculture. From these sessions, we discover Miss Agro Photogenic and this is in a bid to promote agriculture among young women.

The entire program gives the young women the opportunity to learn from other areas of business which they may not be exposed to. This is made possible through the field and industrial visits. We have visited some cocoa farms, the Fresh and Dry Factory, the Blue Skies Factory among others. This is a learning experience for them as they get to interact with various professionals in agriculture.

We also train our ladies in public speaking to build their confidence as advocates of agriculture. Alongside the exciting weekly programs that the contestants are involved in, they are guided to draft project proposals which they are to present at the grand finale as part of the competition. The PRO of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture plays the lead role in coaching the ladies on their projects which they will pitch at the final event as they are given a hearing with potential sponsors.

These activities place our agri-queens above other queens from other pageants as their careers are further enhanced through the enlightening activities we engage them in.

Kofi: What do we expect on the final event? How different will this be from other pageants?

Akosua: Expect nothing short of an exceptional pageant with a touch of agriculture. There will be an agro-choreography dubbed From-Farm –to-Fork: a choreography which will educate the audience on all the processes from production until they get their food on their tables.

One of the sections is an inspirational moment with some great women in agriculture where they will tell their stories and share practical ideas on how young people can excel in the sector.

We will also have the Agro-Sheroes segment in which some women who are doing exceptionally well in the agricultural sector- women who have been heroes in the sector. It is going to be a moment of edutainment: it will be educative and entertaining.

Kofi: Who are some of the industry players who will be attending this event?

Akosua: Those attending include the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) - Ghana, African Women in Agriculture, Women in Agricultural Development, National Farmers and Fishermen’s Association, Blue Skies Ltd and HPW. Amplified Ghana, our cherished headline sponsors will also be present. As this event is an agricultural event, Amplified Ghana is going to ensure that lunch is served to all present. Families and friends of all the participants will be present too.

The program is open to the entire public and as such we encourage all to attend, learn all there is to be learned as well as build their networks.

Photo credit: Adorable Akosua and Miss Agriculture Ghana

To find out more about the Miss Ghana Agriculture Pageant, write to missuwad@gmail.com