Every year since 1914, International Women’s Day has been celebrated worldwide. Commemorating the day in many countries, there have been several events including rallies, marches and conferences organized for women.
In recent times, while the motive for the day has not changed, the way it is celebrated has evolved. Over time, many organizations, institutions, companies and businesses have adopted the day’s celebrations into their internal and external activities.
So recognising the crucial role that women play in our society in advancing development and progress in all aspects, Sesi Technologies as an agritech start-up has dedicated the month of March to celebrate women at the forefront of agriculture in a blogpost series.
Hence today being International Women’s Day, we begin our series with an interview with Naa Shika, an agro processor. Read on to learn what she has to say about adopting innovation and technology to advance gender equality in agriculture.
SesiTech: Hello Naa, tell us who you are, how you got into agriculture and why. Is it something you have always wanted to do? Also which aspect of agriculture are you into?
Naa Shika: You can call me Naa Shika, but my government name is Irene Naa Odarley Lamptey. I am an agro processor and an entrepreneur. The goal was to create food products. At the time I was starting, I didn’t think much of the term “agriculture”. However, food is agriculture and agriculture is food. Our business is into the processing and packaging of fruits and vegetables. So yes, I’ve always wanted to create products from the agriculture value chain.
SesiTech: Why do you think that most parents and generally the society seems to frown on graduates going into agriculture?
Naa Shika: I believe it is a matter of perspective. It is what they have seen and experienced in their own course of life. Farmers that are the representative image of agriculture are not presented in a good light. And let’s not forget the fact that a lot of farmers still struggle. I believe it comes from a place of concern.
SesiTech: So what will you say is the best way to pursue a career in agriculture?
Naa Shika: Like any other career, practicing agriculture should be knowledge based. Constant learning and innovation. Not to forget perseverance and fortitude.
SesiTech: This year’s IWD theme is innovation and technology for gender equality. How does that relate to you as a woman in agriculture? What are some of the challenges and what do you think should be ?
Naa Shika: Working within the industry, you realize that most women limit their activities to manual and laborious tasks whereas men readily embrace technology. With this theme, I hope many more women will be encouraged towards technology and possibly funded to acquire them too. A more efficient value chain system with increased access to funding will be a big driver to the scaling of women’s businesses in Ghana.
SesiTech: Talking of Ghana, does Ghana have hope in the agricultural landscape? What do you suggest we can do better? Will you advise more young women like yourself to get into agriculture?
Naa Shika: There’s hope. That is the one thing we can never run out of within this sector. We have land, we have rain, we have the sun and we have labour and we have a market. There’s hope for the industry. It will get better with our collective effort. Young women should embrace the sector. It is rewarding and very fulfilling.
SesiTech: Finally, what values, principles and worldview has kept you going?
Naa Shika: Fulfilling purpose. The goal is to do my very best and leave the world a little better for posterity.
Naa Shika Koshie is the founder of Eassy Foods, an agro processing start up that focuses on providing nutritious ways of losing weight and managing diabetes through low calorie intake. Find her and her business on all social media platforms with the name Eassy Foods.