The Ghana Trade and Livelihood Coalition (GTLC) has called on the Government to ensure gender equality in the agriculture sector by eliminating inherent inhibitions such as poor access to equipment and skills.
A statement from the Public Relations Department of the GTLC copied to the Ghana News Agency on the celebration of the International Women’s Day said access to key agriculture inputs such as credit, land, fertiliser, seed, as well as timely plough, harrow and extension services was more challenging for women, youth and Persons with Disabilities than men.
It said farmers storage and warehousing was very poor for all genders and compounded by low access to markets to enable farmers readily sell produce.
This, it said, resulted in quantitative and qualitative losses as well as increased income for farmers.
A key finding in GTLC’s gender responsive assessment of agriculture policy implementation in 2018 was that access was not the same for a woman and man farmer, even if support services were supposedly available, it said.
The statement farmers’ storage and warehousing was very poor for all genders and compounded by low access to markets to enable farmers readily sell produce.
This resulted in quantitative and qualitative as well as increases income losses by many farmers, the statement added.
The statement urged the Government to use the national budget as a potent tool to ensure that women were empowered through access to cheaper credit, strengthened farmer groups, improved productive resources like land, adequate access to fertilizer, seed, adequate land preparation services and agriculture extension series.
By so doing, it said, women’s potential would be unleashed leading to a more sustainable food security for the country and beyond.
GTLC’s work, according to the statement, was creating opportunity for women small scale farmers to profitably contribute to the food security needs of the country adding that it was necessary to point out that agriculture in Ghana, particularly the food crop sub-sector, was dominated by Women as they constituted a greater proportion of the labour force.
“For instance, women are farmers, processors of most food crops, pickers and processors of shea nut, marketers and playing critical roles in the value chain of most food crops”.
The Coalition commended the efforts of the government to improve agriculture through its Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme, One District One Warehouse, One Village One Dam, and the launching of the Ghana Commodity Exchange.
However, it said, there was evidence that women were not well targeted in these programmes to ensure maximum benefit to them.
“GTLC considers that governments cannot do everything but then creating the enabling environment for agriculture to thrive is the sole responsibility of government. By GTLC estimates, in its Policy Monitoring and Evaluation survey, shows that 79 per cent of women small scale farmers do not have basic education,” the statement noted.