Land tenure system undermining women active participation in agriculture

The land tenure and heritance systems in the Upper West Region are undermining women active participation in agricultural activities, Ms Cate Bob Milliar, Regional Director of Department of Women has observed.

She said women in the region have no title to land and therefore rely on the goodwill of their  husbands to release barren lands to them make a living, which makes it difficult for them to produce food to enhance their livelihoods.

She explained that until women are given the right to own land and the right to inheritance their role in agricultural production would forever remain insignificant.

Milliar made the observation at an advocacy for gender equity in agriculture workshop in Wa on Saturday organised by The Rural Organisation of Women Farmers and Agro Processing Development (ROWFAD), a local non-governmental organisation (NGO) advocating gender equity in agriculture organised the workshop.

It aimed at supporting women groups in agriculture to campaign for their inclusion in the cultivation of groundnuts in the “Block Farming Programme”.

Milliar appealed to stakeholders from policy-formulation level and the community level to see land rights for women as a critical and relevant issue, which needed to be addressed quickly as possible to encourage more women to embrace agriculture.

Elizabeth A. Kutina, Regional Officer responsible for Women in Agriculture at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture said women participating in the Block Farming Programme in the communities had not been encouraging.

She said government’s subsidised tractor allocation to farmers in the region benefited only men and urged women farmers to form cooperatives to qualify them to take advantage of the programme.

Alhaji Amidu Sulemana, Regional Minister in a speech read on his behalf urged women to take advantage of government agricultural interventions to increase food production.

Women should not depend on the hoe and cutlass alone for farming activities, saying the time had come for them to venture into large scale food and cash crops production to make the region food sufficient.

Mr Yaana Yahaya, Executive Director of Rural Organisation of Women Farmers and Agro-Processing Development, said the NGO had realised that groundnut was the most important crop that brought income to rural women in the three northern regions.

Groundnut also increases the nutritional level of rural household and its non-inclusion among crops under the programme was a gross disincentive to women in agriculture.

He appealed to government to include chemical fertilisers for groundnuts as part of its fertiliser subsidy to farmers to help increase groundnut production.

The Business Advisory Centre sponsored the workshop on the theme: “Access to guarantee market after production and process” and was attended by women groundnut farmers from the nine districts in the region.

Source: GNA

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