Affirmative action needed to safeguard interest of women in agriculture

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Ho, June 13, GNA-Ms Alberta Nana Akya Akosa, Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, a non-governmental agricultural capacity building organization, has called for a “practical” affirmative action to safeguard the interest of women in agriculture.

     She said instead of “intermittent interventions” a solid affirmative action roadmap would ensure concrete success was achieved in efforts at improving the lot of women working hard to feed the country through farming.

     Ms Akosa said this at a “Women in Food and Agricultural Leadership” forum and expo (WOFAGRIC 2019) and the “Gold in the soil awards 2019” in Ho, organised by Agrihouse.

     The two-day forum and awards event is on the theme, “Women! Key in shaping agribusiness.”

She said a number of changes needed to be done in agriculture policies to strengthen women’s contribution to agricultural production and sustainability.
     Ms Akosa said the changes included support for investment in rural areas to improve women’s living and working conditions and giving priority to technological development policies, targeting rural women farmers.

     She said an important area that needed to be looked at was the negative effects and risks of farming practices and technology use, including pesticides, on the health of women with measures to reduce the risk.
     Ms Akosa also called for the theory of “Feminization of Agriculture” to be embraced and executed to the latter.
     She explained “Feminization of Agriculture” as women’s increasing participation in the agricultural labour force, whether as independent producers, as unremunerated family workers, or as agricultural wage workers.
      Ms Akosa said in Africa and Asia, almost half of the labour force on farms were women and called for support and recognition for them.
     She said women were strategically placed to drive Ghana’s economic development and that they leveraged on agribusiness to create linkages and encourage investment that had strong multiplier effects on growth.
     The Executive Director said that disposition was crucial to fighting food insecurity and creating wealth for smallholders and rural communities.
     Dr. Archibald Yao Letsa, Volta Regional Minister said the region was noted for large scale production of rice, cassava and maize, with women playing major roles.
     He said women were greatly involved in orange flesh sweet potato cultivation in the region and hopefully the forum would improve their farming practices and grow the local economy.
      Dr. Letsa said government remained committed to the growth of the agriculture value chain because agriculture held the key to a prosperous and happy Ghana.

     He asked women to take advantage of government’s planting for food and jobs initiative to enhance their lots.
     Rev. Dr. Gifty Lamptey, Chief Executive Officer, Sidalco Group of companies underscored the need to encourage girls to take agricultural courses to the highest level and unlock the wealth in that sector.
     She asked government and other stakeholders to help make women’s access to land easy.
      Mr Haidar Malhas, Head of Irrigation Department, Interplast, said all women farmers needed were support and recognition and not empowerment because they were already strong and empowered.
     He said his company was offering 50 per cent discount for women farmers during the event.
      The forum is focusing on smallholder women, beginner agribusiness and women achievers in Agriculture.
     It will be climaxed with capacity building and an awards ceremony.

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