Minister appeals to traditional rulers to release land to women farmers

Alhaji Issahaku Saliah, the Upper West Regional Minister, has called on traditional rulers and landowners to release land to women farmers.

He also called on donors such as ActionAid and others to assist these women farmers to access loans to support their farming activities.

Alhaji Saliah said this during the 2011 Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) – Stand up Day forum organised by ActionAid Ghana at Wa on Tuesday.

He said the theme for the forum: “Food prices – from crisis to stability: the voices of rural women farmers of Ghana on the road to stability”, would provide an opportunity for rural women farmers to express their views on the way forward towards addressing the challenges in food prices.

He said women in agriculture played important roles such as food production, income earners as well as nurturers and managers of natural resources but noted that their effort had constantly been thwarted by factors of production including land, capital and technology.

Alhaji Saliah said in the Upper West Region women farmers are engaged in food production for domestic consumption were smallholder farmers with significantly smaller farm sizes than men.

He said agriculture had always been treasured as the livewire of the economy, contributing about 60 percent of the country’s labour force and these farmers are mostly women hence, the need to support them to boost their capacity to produce more food to feed their families and the rest of the country.

Alhaji Saliah noted that government was focusing on promoting rural development through modern agriculture and in line with that objective, government assisted farmers to procure tractors and also fertilizer at subsidized prices to increase productivity.

Madam Queronica Quarley Quratey, Right to Food and Climate Change Policy Advisor of ActionAid called on the government to promote the adoption and promotion of policies that protected women’s rights to land and other productive resources.

She appealed to the government to support gender mainstreaming in the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) programme of work and invest more in visible gender targeted policies by financing smallholder agriculture and women farmers in particular.

In addition, government should hire more women experts in the work of MOFA to create a more gender-equitable organisation that would meet the needs of women farmers.

Government should further engage regularly with women civil society leaders including organised groups of women farmers, processors and marketers to strengthen the direction and implementation of policies.

Source: GNA

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