ActionAid Ghana (AAG), a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), has presented 60 bicycles to female Agriculture Extension Volunteers in two Districts in the Upper East Region to boost agricultural activities.
The two districts, Bawku West and Nabdam Districts, each received 30 bicycles for the women, as part of the Northern Ghana Integrated Development Project (NGIDP) implemented by AAG together with Urbanet and Tree Aid with funding support from the European Commission.
The NGIDP directly empowered 13,500 women smallholder farmers, some young people and persons with disabilities, strengthened 300 women farmer groups, 15 farmer networks and trained 1,050 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and group leaders.
The project also reached a total of 825,000.00 people, directly and indirectly in 15 selected districts in Northern Ghana including all districts in the Upper East Region.
It ensured improved delivery of extension services, increased awareness on rights to land, social protection and decent work.
At two separate ceremonies at Zebilla and Nabdam to present the bicycles, Mr Alhassan Sulemana, the Regional Manager of AAG, said 240 Female Extension Volunteers were trained by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) to support their communities and catchment areas with basic extension services.
He said the Female Extension Volunteers would help improve the ratio of agriculture extension service personnel and as they were indigenes within the communities who would directly work with farmers in their respective communities, it would be most beneficial to the farmers.
He said the bicycles were to facilitate movements of the volunteers to augment the services of the few overburdened Agriculture Extension Officers within their catchment areas.
“So, the essence of these bicycles is for them to be able to move from farm to farm to offer extension services as to what to do, and how they are supposed to do it to get some better yields,” Mr Sulemana said.
He said the four-year project, expected to end in June 2023, had the overall objective “To contribute to rural poverty reduction in Ghana through economic development, adoption of environmentally sustainable agriculture policies and practice, and greater access to social protection.”
Mr Rasheed Imoro, the Nabdam District Director of MoFA, said even though the NGIDP had ended, MoFA would continue to train more women groups to serve as community extension services volunteers.
He said the Ministry’s Extension Officers could not reach all the communities, therefore, the services of the volunteers were relevant, as they would offer first-hand advice to farmers in the communities based on what they were taught.
He said even though MoFA could not supply bicycles to volunteers, it would continue to build the capacities of more volunteers, “Going forward, we need to train more of them, so that they can give first-hand help to the farmers before technical advice by Extension Officers.”
Some volunteers after receiving their bicycles, expressed gratitude to AAG for the training and the bicycles presented to them.
According to them, farmlands within their catchment areas were far apart, so the bicycles would facilitate their movement within the communities to assist farmers improve on their yields, especially as the rains had set in.