Mr Yunus Abdulai, the Country Lead for Policy LINK Ghana, has reiterated the need for policymakers to strive to ensure inclusivity in agricultural policy formulation and implementation to ensure the success of the policy.
He said research had shown that engaging all stakeholders affected by a policy for their input into the design and implementation would lead to better outcomes.
Mr Abdulai said this in Wa during a policy dialogue on the inclusion and active participation of women in agricultural policy and governance processes as part of activities to commemorate the International Day of Rural Women (IDRW).
The event, which was on the theme: “Shaping Ghana’s Agricultural Future: The Role of Rural Women,” brought together women groups and associations in agriculture within the USAID Zone of Influence (ZOI) and stakeholders in the agricultural sector.
The United Nations (UN), in 2008, set aside October 15 annually to recognise the critical role and contribution of indigenous women in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security, and eradicating rural poverty.
Mr Abdulai said over the years the USAID Feed the Future Ghana Policy LINK had actively been working through the government and ministries, to address issues that affected women in general and rural women in specific.
He said Policy LINK, in its work to address policy issues affecting the agricultural sector, focused inclusivity on the marginalised groups including rural women who were also farmers, and persons with disability among others, to help make the Ghana agricultural and food system process more inclusive.
He therefore urged stakeholders to support the efforts of rural women towards the advancement of their livelihoods and general well-being.
A citizen poll conducted by Policy LINK presented at the dialogue forum indicated that fewer women than men were aware of agricultural policies on inputs, trade facilitation, ease of doing agri-business, and climate risk management.
The poll, which involved 1,019 respondents across the country, comprising 347 females and 672 males, also revealed that “Fewer females than males are of the view that agricultural policy formulation are effective.”
Mr Iliasu Yakubu, a Research Consultant with Saha Consulting and Services Limited presented the poll findings dubbed, “Voice and Perspectives of Ghanaian Women on Agricultural Policies: The Case of the Citizen Poll.”
He recommended public education on existing agricultural policies and programmes targeting more women to increase their awareness levels of those policies and programmes.
Mr Yakubu also recommended that: “The government and its development partners should prioritise women’s education on the policy development process to enable them to appreciate how they can also be involved as stakeholders.”
Madam Rashida Iddrisu, the Head of the Women in Agricultural Development (WIAD) unit, Upper Regional Department of Agriculture, said Ghana had made remarkable progress in agricultural development but said that progress could be accelerated by harnessing the potential of rural women.
She called for stakeholders’ commitment to addressing challenges confronting rural women such as limited access to land and resources, gender-based discrimination, and unequal access to healthcare and education.
Some of the women farmers at the event mentioned access to tractor services as a major challenge to rural women in their efforts to improve their agricultural activities and appealed for tractors dedicated to women farmers to help reduce their challenges.