Bolgatanga , March 13, GNA – Women small holder farmers , Producers and Processors in the Upper East Region have called on Government to help rural women get access to credit facilities from the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre(MASLOC) to enable them improve upon agricultural production.
The women made the call in a Communiqué read at the celebration of this year’s International Women’s day marked in Bolgatanga.
The event which was organized by Action Aid Ghana (AAG) in partnership with the Orphans and Widows Ministry, Botataaba Nahira-Taaba Development Union (BONATADU), Bawku East Women Development Association(BEWDA) and the Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Gender and Social Protection was also used to showcase agricultural products produced by the rural women.
Mrs Rita Ayiza, leader of the women, presenting the Communiqué to the Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Rockson Ayine Bukari, said the Women small holder farmers, Producers and Processors group was made up of 1,376 women, comprising 43 rural women groups in 26 communities in the Region.
She said 44 per cent out of the 70 per cent of farmers in the Region were women and when supported could contribute significantly to increase agricultural growth of the Region and the country as a whole.
The group impressed upon the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) and the Municipal and District Assemblies to engage with the traditional leaders and the overseers of land to release fertile land for them to embark on farming to help improve upon the welfare of their families particularly their children.
They appealed to government and other stakeholders in Agriculture and the welfare of women, to help them have access to cheap processing technology and reduced tariffs on processing machinery, equipment and packaging materials.
“We demand that women farmers, producers and processors should be properly targeted for market opportunities and inputs such as improved seeds, grain banks, financial resources and technical assistance among others.
These, we believe will lead to the increase of agricultural production significantly, enhance market access and boost our income”.
The Regional Minister who received the Communiqué on behalf of the Government, pledged to forward their demand to the appropriate quarters for redress.
He commended the women for their role in national development and indicated that government was committed to their cause and had already initiated a number of projects and programmes which would involve them.
Some of the projects, he said included the establishment of One Village one Dam, the establishment of factories, the planting food for jobs and the Zongo Development Fund as well as reviewing of taxes downwards on farm inputs.
The Programme Manager of AAG, Mr Alhassan Sulemana, on his part called on government to formulate policies for rural women to reduce unpaid care work to enable them earn income.
He said as part of AAG contribution to the empowerment of rural women it had initiated an intervention known as the ‘promoting opportunities for Women Empowerment and Rights Project’ (POWER), to link smallholder women producers and processors with various value chain actors.
“This is aimed at establishing networking relationship between smallholder women farmers, producers and processors, aggregators, input dealers and marketers in the value chain,” the Programme Manager said.