Agric Workers Union supports farmers with non-farm economic activities

The General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) of the Ghana Trades Union Congress is implementing a project to improve the livelihoods of  rural informal sector workers through mobilizing and training them in non-farm economic activities.

Mrs Emelia Ghansah, the Project Coordinator, told the GNA in Accra that “the expectation is that farmers will acquire knowledge and skills so that they can also engage in alternative income earning economic activities.”

She said in promoting these activities the Union had used socially and environmentally sustainable approaches and had paid due attention to gender needs.

“It has also instigated in GAWU institutional reforms, developed capacity and strengthened internal dynamics as well as channels for influencing policies affecting rural informal sector workers,” she added.

Ms Ghansah said the union had organized training for 49 communities in non-farm activities, including snail and grass cutter rearing, mushroom farming and beekeeping on the need-based recommendations of the communities.

She explained that these activities were mostly for those in the Southern Sector while farmers in the Northern Sector were introduced to commercial processing of  shea butter and “dawadawa.

She said taking into account the income levels of these poor rural subsistence farmers, their being able to start these non-farm economic activities with their own resources was commendable.

Mr. Kingsley Ofei- Nkansah, General Secretary of GAWU, said the vision for Ghana’s Agricultural Sector under the Food and Agriculture Sector Development Policy II, was to modernize agriculture culminating in a structurally transformed economy, grounded in food security, employment opportunities and  poverty reduction.

He said the Medium Term Agricultural Sector and Investment Plan (METASIP) was also developed based on the Plan’s objectives of targeting Agricultural growth of six per cent annually.

“It is envisaged that the plan will be implemented through existing structures and it will contribute to the overriding goal of helping African Countries increase their economic growth through agricultural-based development, eradication of hunger and poverty reduction…,” Mr. Ofei-Nkansah stated.

He said the union was exploring means of monitoring and evaluating the entire policy formulation and implementation processes by paying attention to the policy impact in relation to small scale farmers.

“In this connection, GAWU is seeking to find out in more concrete terms how government policies are impacting on small scale farmers, especially in terms of food security and the incomes derived from their occupation,” he said.

He explained that leadership intended to engage with the policy makers and duty bearers as well as the media to identify limitations and policy concerns that emerged from meeting stakeholders.

He expressed the hope that farmers would have a better appreciation of the agricultural sector policy and investment plans and be in a better position to engage with duty bearers and begin to develop perspectives on how to derive benefit from the implementation of the policy and investment plans.

Source: GNA

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