Women farmers have called for the introduction of robust agricultural policies that favour females into agribusinesses to inject dynamism in farming practices towards ensuring food security.
The female champions in agribusinesses, therefore, urged the Government to come out with comprehensive programmes to aid women access credit facilities, secure lands, receive special training to facilitate their farming activities.
The policies should also seek to remove inimical traditional and cultural practices that prohibit females, particularly, rural women farmers, from owning landed property and business entities.
The women were speaking to the Ghana News Agency at the Super Champions for Change Women’s Conference, organised by African Lead, a USAID primary capacity building programme in Sub Saharan Africa, with the support of Feed the Future – a US government global hunger and food security initiative.
More than 100 women across the country took part in the two-day confab where members of the Women in Agribusiness Network of Ghana (WIANG) engaged in networking, learning and information sharing sessions on opportunities and new technologies in agribusiness.
The conference was to enable the participants to improve their skills and knowledge in entrepreneurship and ways of doing farming as business and to be inspired to start and grow their own agribusinesses.
Mrs Helena Azu-Adjei, the Gender Desk Officer, Farmers Organisation Network in Ghana, hailed Africa Lead for building the capacity of rural women farmers.
She said Ghanaian women required inclusive agricultural policies that would persuade women to apply their new learning skills and technologies to boost yields.
“I have had so many trainings organised by Africa Lead, through them, we have been able to seek for funds to celebrate women annually where we invite policy-makers to talk on favourable agric policies that will favour our women,” she said.
Women are said to be supplied with agricultural inputs like cutlasses, wheelbarrows, hoes and wellington boots during the occasion.
“What I am saying is that our women now need favourable policies to move on, putting in place the enabling environment will motivate them to produce more,” she said.
Mrs Azu-Adjei, who is also WIANG’s Coordinator, said her organisation had trained many women in Bowohonmoden in the Brong Ahafo region on food security, CAADP principles and women’s involvement in the decision-making process.
The Executive Director of Savannah Integrated Rural Development, Hajia Alima Sagito Saed, noted that leadership training was fundamental in agricultural commercialisation and mechanisation.
She said: “I noted that leadership is what is key in everything that you do, so if the leadership is not strategic, we begin to have a challenge of transforming any action that we want to do, and it could be agriculture or anything.”
“What we are doing as an organisation is strategically working within our women groups.”
“Currently, we have about 120 women group scattered in the northern region and each one has a maximum of 30 people.”
“What we are doing is to target the leadership of these groups, build their confidence in such a way that they can be empowered to produce a long the agriculture value chain.”
Hajia Saed named soya beans and yam as one of the many men crops that women had undertaken after receiving capacity and leadership training in agriculture.
She attributed the move to team work and networking following several tuitions by the US capacity building initiative programme, which had inspired them to venture into the cultivation of crops, hitherto, largely controlled by males.
She also said communities in the Region had formed village savings and loans and open social fund to aid women transform their businesses and support education and healthcare services.
“Every time there is this challenge of lack of credit for farming, we have sung this as challenge for long, but it is not going, it means that we just have to find a way of going around it.”
“We have a situation when women are supporting their colleague women’s children to pay their school fees or medical bills when they are sick,” she said.
“So that community unity, social cohesion is built because of those things and this is because of the agric lessons we are learning from Africa Lead, to be able to transform agriculture, we are transforming individuals, we are transforming communities and transforming our districts.”
Africa Lead contributes to the Feed the Future goals of reducing hunger and poverty by building the capacity of champions, defined as men and women leaders in agriculture, to develop, lead and manage policies, structures and processes essential for transformation processes.