Mr George Oduro, a Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, in-charge of Horticulture, has opened a 15-week capacity building for 60 women in commercial farming.
The women, selected from across the country, are being trained in tractor operation, maintenance and management.
Dubbed: “Women in the Driving Seat (WIDS),” the training is being held at the Wenchi Farm Institute in the Bono Region, and funded by the German International Cooperation (GIZ).
Mr Oduro said the Government was determined to modernizing agriculture by supporting farmers to go into commercial farming to increase food production.
He said subsistence and peasant farming with the use of hoes, cutlasses and other ancient farm tools were not the best, hence the need to train and motivate the farmers, particularly women, to see farming as lucrative business and engage in large scale farming.
Mr Oduro said plans were advanced for the establishment of Agricultural Mechanisation Service Centres in the country, and expressed the hope that the training would equip participants with the requisite knowledge and skills to help operate the centres for optimal benefit.
Mr Michael Boateng, an official of the GIZ, said the training was in line with the implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP), established by the African Union (AU), to develop the agriculture sector in Africa.
The GIZ-WIDS project looks at the prospect of women in agriculture by providing them with the required technical skills to build their capacity and improve food production, he said.
Mr Joseph Sarpong, the National Coordinator for GIZ-CAADP, advised the beneficiaries to change their mindset and attitude and see farming as a lucrative business and not as a reserve for the poor in society.
He advised them to make themselves available and take the training seriously to enable them to acquire the requisite skills and technical knowhow to build on their economic activities and create employment for others.
Dr Prince Kwakye Afriyie, the Wenchi Municipal Chief Executive, said government’s focus on agriculture held the key to creating more jobs for the people and in the long term enhance national food security.
He said it was essential to create equal opportunity for women in the agricultural sector to improve on processing and easily accessing ready market for their produce, he said.
Dr Afriyie advised the beneficiaries to also take advantage of the government’s flagship Planting for Food and Jobs (PfFJs) programme and extend production into other areas to improve on farming.