Rural women farmers, mostly vegetable farmers, have appealed to government to institute a funding scheme to support their needs to enable them increase production.
The women said their livelihoods are being threatened due to the lack and high cost of inputs and over dependence on rain-fed agriculture.
“Rural women farmers have consistently been overlooked as far as funding policies are concerned, making it difficult to access agricultural credits to step up production,” says Betty Sackey of Accelerated Youth Oriented for National Goal Organisation, a SEND-Ghana partner.
Mrs Sackey was speaking in an interview at Koluedor, near Ada, to mark the World Rural Women’s Day facilitated by SEND-Ghana to draw government’s attention to invest more in the sector to help the women.
She said households are deeply vulnerable to climate and economic shocks, primarily because they lack access to assets and markets.
About 70 per cent of agricultural production is in the hands of smallholder farmers, mostly women, she said, adding it is high time government institute policies to address their needs.
Rural women farmers play very critical role in ensuring food security but are faced with challenges including dependence on rain-fed agriculture, poor infrastructure resulting in post-harvest losses and lack of irrigation.
“The problems are so overwhelming that sometimes we think of giving up,” Mrs Janet Ocansey, a Tomato and Pepper farmer, who is among the more than 500 women vegetable farmers in the area told the Ghana News Agency.
“Anytime the rains fail to come on time or come earlier than expected then we are in for a problem as you either lose everything or wait for the next year to come,” Mrs Ocansey said.
Mrs Ocansey said low access to tractor services by women, high cost of fertilizer and other inputs erode the gains that women get from farming.
She said while the government had made some tractors available, they are not enough when the farming season approaches and men usually take advantage of the services.
World Rural Women’s Day got started in 1995 at the UN Conference for Women in Beijing, as a way to honour rural women who make up about a quarter of the world’s population.
SEND-Ghana is a policy research and advocacy non-governmental organisation focusing on pro-poor policy and development programme monitoring in Ghana and service delivery through the promotion of livelihoods security. GNA