Protect women farmers to ensure food security – BNARI Director
Professor Kenneth Danso, Director of the Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute (BNARI), has stressed the need to address the challenges facing small holder women farmers to ensure food security.
He said the majority of farmers who produce, process and market Africa’s food were women and that there was the need to devise innovative ways to help them become more efficient.
Prof. Danso made the call when he opened a five-day workshop organised on Evolutionary Learning Laboratory (ELLab) for investigating labour saving innovations.
On the theme “Investigating Labour Saving Innovations for Women Small holder farmers in Ghana,” the workshop is being organised by BNARI of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, with technical support from the University of Adelaide in Australia.
The ELLab, he explained, was not a physical space, but “a place in the minds of the people who are involved, especially women in agriculture, extension people, government officials and policy makers, people who develop technologies for agriculture, scientists, NGOs”.
The ultimate goal of ELLab is to achieve sustainable outcomes through the interactions of all the system variables for labour saving innovations and this will involve all relevant stakeholders.
The iterative process will serve as a valuable informal co-learning experience, leading to new levels of capability and performance by both the end-users (women in agriculture) and those designing and providing new technologies, tools and management strategies and policies.
Prof Danso pledged GAEC’s continuous support to the University of Adelaide in subsequent workshops and training programs, all in the quest of improving the lives of women small holder farmers in Ghana.
Prof. Ockie Bosch, a lecturer at the Adelaide University, said the workshop was an 18-month pilot project with grants from Bill Gates Foundation for two countries in sub-Sahara Africa and South Asia.
Ghana and Viet Nam represent sub-Sahara Africa and South Asia respectively.
He said man does not have solutions to all the problems of the world that are agriculturally related, hence the creation, by the University, of a system approach involving the farmers.
“It is our hope that this pilot scheme will be extended to other parts of the region, to improve farming and food security”, he added.
Mrs Lydia Sasu, Member of Farmers Organisation of Ghana, later in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, commended BNARI and the Adelaide University for the workshop, adding, “women have been neglected for far too long, and it is about time we small holder women farmers were given such attention”.