The Director of the Rural Organization of Women Farmers and Agro Processing (ROWFAD), Ya Naa Yahya has observed that groundnuts and other crops that women are interested in farming should be made part of the government’s Block Farming concept introduced some years ago.
This he said will go a long way to assist rural women to be self-sufficient. Ya Naa Yahya was speaking at one day regional advocacy meeting in Wa, the Upper West Regional capital at a forum organized by ROWFAD
He said his organization has seen the need to advocate for gender equality in agriculture and the target of his advocacy is groundnut, as this particular crop can give women a window of opportunity for women who are engaged in its production in the three Northern Regions. It will be of direct benefit to them, since it is one of the best sources of income generating activity helping rural women to get the needed income for the running of their families.
He said apart from the nutritional value of groundnut for rural households it is also a reliable source of income for rural women and therefore appealed to the government to make groundnut one of the crops for Block Farming so that women can also take advantage of the program.
The Regional Director of the Department of Women in the Upper West Region, Cate Bob Millar observed that for women to be properly catered for in the real sense of gender, there is the need for the land tenure system in the country and for that matter the three northern regions to be properly looked at in ensuring that women in the country are true masters of their own lives. Cate Bob Millar said land is a contentious issue in the Northern part of Ghana, the land tenure system does not favour women in its entirety.
She said the government program of called the Land Administration Project (LAP) has a gender component but wondered how that aspect can practically be applied since phase one of the project has come to an end already and wondered whether women in the country would be catered for in the country in the phase two implementation of the project. Madam Cate Millar appealed for assistance for women to have access to land in the country.
She said in situations where women have been given lands for farming purposes, those allocated lands turn out not to be viable for agricultural activity and therefore called on all stakeholders to recognize the rights of women when it comes to land allocation. She was not particularly happy about land holdings by women at the family level and insisted that since culture is dynamic and times are changing a room should be made for more women to own and use land for their direct benefits.
Elizabeth Kutina the regional officer in charge of women at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) said the Block Farming concept started four years ago by the government is a laudable one but said women participation in the program has not been encouraging.
She said the Block Farming concept includes such agricultural produce such as maize, yam, and rice among others. This she said does not make room for active women participation as women can effectively be involved if crops such as groundnuts are included in the Block Farming concept.
Elizabeth Kutina said it is particularly difficult for women to access financial support for agricultural purposes and it has also been revealed that tractor services are not available to women farmers in the country. She said research has shown that there are crops with high yields such as groundnut and if such crops are included in the Block Farming concept of the government, it will go a long way to benefit women in the country.
The Monitor of Business Advocacy Challenge Fund(BUSAC Fund) Martin Dery said three organizations which include the European Union, USAID and DANIDA are supporting the BUSAC Fund with the aim to support the private sector outside the mainstream of the civil or public service to develop through advocacy.
He said BUSAC is responsive to private interests which are mandatory under the constitution of the country in order to let them grow financially.

BMJ Seidu

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