Encourage block farming for groundnuts – Women Farmers group
By: Musah Umar Farouq, Wa
THE EXECUTIVE Director of the Rural Organization of Women Farmers and Agro-processing Development (ROWFAD), Mr. Yanaa Yahaya has appealed to the government to encourage block farming in groundnuts and other crops by women farmers, which was the practice some years ago.
Mr. Yahaya, who was speaking at a regional advocacy meeting organized by ROWFAD in Wa in Upper West Region, last Friday, hoped the move would assist rural women to be self-sufficient.
He stressed the need for gender equality in agriculture and emphasized ROWFAD’s advocacy for groundnut as its target, because it can give a special opportunity for women who are engaged in production in the three Northern Regions.
According to him, groundnut can be of direct benefit to women farmers since it is one of the best sources of income generating activity to help them raise income for the running of their families.
He stated that, apart from the nutritional value of groundnut for rural households, it is also a reliable source of income for rural women.
He 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, Madam 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 the three northern regions in particular, to be revised to ensure that women handle their lives.
Madam Bob Millar said land is a contentious issue in the Northern part of Ghana and that the land tenure system does not favour women in its entirety. She said the Land Administration Project (LAP) by the government has a gender component, but wondered how that aspect could be applied practically, since the Phase One of the project had already come to an end, and wondered whether women in the country would be catered for in the implementation of the Phase Two of the project.
Madam Bob Millar appealed for assistance for women to have access to land in the country. According to her, in most cases, lands allocated to women 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 particularly not happy about land holdings by women at the family level and insisted that since culture is dynamic, and times are changing, room should be made for more women to own and use land for their direct benefits.
Madam 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 laudable one except that 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. The MOFA official noted that the inclusion of groundnuts in the Block Farming concept would actively involve women.
Madam Kutina, however, noted that it is difficult for women to access financial support for agricultural purposes and that tractor services are not available to women farmers in the country.
She said research has shown that there are crops with high yields like 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), Mr. Martin Derry said three organizations, including the European Union, USAID and DANIDA are supporting the BUSAC Fund with the aim of supporting 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.
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