The significant role of women in the agriculture sector in Ghana was acknowledged during the 3rd European Forum on Rural Development held in Palencia, Spain on March 29. In her presentation during the opening session as the chairperson, Soraja Rodriguez Ramos, Spanish Secretary of State for International Development, stated that “women producers in Ghana are the same as men producers and that the yield of sectors of production in cereals has most women”. She stressed the significance of women in ensuring the global vision of food security.
The third forum organized by the European Commission, Government of Spain, CTA, German International Cooperation (giz), France Development Agency (afd), Irish Aid and
Global Donor Platform for Rural Development had the theme “Rural Development for food security – learning from experience”. It brought together about 500 representatives from international organizations, governments, academia and the civil society to deliberate on cross-cutting issues toward ensuring food security across the continent.
Soraja Rodriguez Ramos emphasised the importance of incorporating the role of women in agriculture across the continent. She made it clear that the world, especially developing countries need right equality policies that would empower women to contribute towards ensuring food security and overall rural development. Apart from acknowledging the role of the Ghanaian woman in agriculture, she lamented women lacked the capacity to produce more because of unfavourable government policies.
Women in agriculture constitute 50 percent of the active labour force.
However, the activities of insects, fungi, bacteria, bad environmental conditions and poor post-harvest management and the many challenges inherent in the agriculture sector render the role of women unrecognized. This explains why the threats of food insecurity still persist in an agrarian economy like Ghana.
The Secretary of State for International Development in Spain challenged governments to mainstream the contribution of women in agriculture policies if meaningful steps can be taken to ensure food security. She therefore pushed for all inclusive gender equality policies that will consider the challenges faced by women in agriculture.
The European Forum on Rural Development is organized every four years. The first forum was organized in Montpellier, France in 2003 with the second being held in Berlin, Germany in 2007. The forum represents an important milestone towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal 1 – eradicate extreme poverty and hunger – in the world.
By: Stephen Yeboah
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