The Agrihouse Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organization, has called on the government and other stakeholders to craft out and implement responsive agriculture policies and programs to support smallholder women farmers to increase production.
It said the interventions should gear towards addressing major challenges that confront women in the agriculture value chain and empower them to engage in best agriculture practices to increase yields.
Ms. Alberta Akyaa Akosa, the Executive Director of the Agrihouse Foundation, made the call at Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region at the third Women in Food and Agriculture Leadership Training Forum (WOFAGRIC) and Gold in the Soil Awards.
The ceremony was organized to celebrate and award some rural smallholder women farmers in the Upper East and Upper West Regions.
The program was sponsored by the Canadian Embassy; YARA, Absa Ghana, INTERPLAST, OCP Africa, PEG Africa, and RDF Ghana and was held on the theme, “Surviving, thriving and making waves beyond the pandemic.”
According to Ms. Akosa, women in the agricultural value chain contributed to the country’s food security and economic growth but continued to face numerous challenges that hindered them from increasing production.
She mentioned the lack of farm equipment such as tractors, combined harvesters among others, and well-structured irrigational systems to enable them to engage in large-scale farming and dry season cultivation.
“It is our concern that farming in this part of the country can only be done once in a year, the limitations and difficulties that come with that, coupled with a major challenge like no modern irrigation systems in place to support them in the dry season,” she added.
The Executive Director, therefore, called on the government to support smallholder women farmers’ particularly rural farmers with finance and technical support to expand their farms, create jobs and contribute significantly to the socio-economic growth and transformation of the country.
Madam Corey Huntington, the Deputy Director in charge of Programme Planning at the Canadian High Commission, said women continued to make positive strides in agriculture and called for the implementation of concrete measures to build their resilience against shocks such as the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr. Francis Ennor, the Upper East Regional Director of the Department of Agriculture, commended Agrihouse and its sponsors for the training and the awards scheme and added that the initiative would propel women to venture into agriculture and agribusiness.
He said, “The region gives priority to women’s activities and will never relent its effort in doing that. About 30 percent of the Department of Agric budget at the district and regional levels is devoted to only women’s activities.”
The WOFAGRIC is designed to help build the capacity of women farmers, entrepreneurs, and other women in the agriculture value chain and provide a platform for the women to exchange, learn and share best practices in handling and overcoming challenges in agribusinesses.
The Gold in Soil Awards is designed to recognize and reward women in agriculture through a video documentary of their work and how it impacts their respective communities.
In all, 15 women farmers out of the 131 nominees were awarded various prizes.
Madam Portia Asumda from Zangbeyire in the Bawku West District of the Upper East Region who is into food crop production, guinea fowls, livestock, and small ruminants rearing and shea and groundnuts processing emerged as the overall best farmer and was given a certificate, plaque, T-shirt, cloth, fertilizers, irrigation pump installed on her farm and a tricycle (Motor king).