Women farmers in Upper West Region appeal for land rights
Women farmers in three districts of the Upper West region have expressed concern about the total absence of land rights for them despite their zeal to increase food production and family incomes.
The women in Wa Municipality, Wa East and Wa West Districts complained that land owners seize lands allocated to them after they had spent their resources to improve the fertility of such lands for cultivation.
According to the women farmers, at the beginning of the second farming season, they are usually given new plots of lands to work on after they had spent large sums of money to improve their old plots.
This came to light through a research finding, which was presented at a workshop in Wa over the weekend, organised by House Liberation for Empowerment (HOLIFE), a local non-governmental organization and sponsored by BUSAC Fund.
The findings revealed that about 80 per cent of the women begged for or had unsecured title to their farm lands; as a result, they could not invest freely on such lands.
They called for the relaxation of all customary laws pertaining to women’s rights to land and initiation of programmes and policies to empower women to demand for their rights as well as help people to change their mindsets about women’s land rights.
The findings saw cooperative farming for women as a most suitable way of addressing some of the problems of the women, whilst lease agreements should also be regularized and made flexible.
Madam Evelyn Dibaar, Executive Director of HOLIFE said her organization was promoting understanding and respect for all women through development programmes, promoting individual women to be confident competent and caring.
She said they were supporting 500 women through micro-credit schemes to establish sustainable businesses that had a long term goal of making them financially independent.
Madam Dibaar said ‘dawadawa’, which is the most important product of the women, has been certified by the Food and Drugs Authority to enable it to be exported.
The women are being supported by House of Liberation for Empowerment (HOLIFE) to undertake farming and other ancillary activities like dawadawa and shea butter processing