2nd National Smallholder Women Farmers Confab held at Bolgatanga

Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto,Minister of Food and Agriculture

Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto,Minister of Food and Agriculture

The Second National Smallholder Women farmers Conference has been held at Bolgatanga on Friday as part of this year’s International Day of Rural Women.

Addressing the conference, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, in a speech read for him, said agriculture held the fortunes to Ghana’s economic transformation, job creation and sustained food security.

The sector he said employed majority of the active population in the country, hence the government’s determination to promote crop production and animal husbandry.

Dr Akoto explained that “Agriculture is no longer practised as subsistence farming   but substantially for market, profit and incomes.  Agriculture has become technology and market industry.”

He said that it was  against this background that the government of Ghana under  the leadership of  Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo upon assumption  of  office in 2017,  introduced  a number of flagship programmes  including the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJs), One Village, One Dam, One District , One factory  and One District, One Ware House.

Dr Akoto indicated that the government had also initiated a number of   interventions in the areas of agriculture mechanisation, irrigation schemes, livestock development and access to financial support by various actors in agricultural value change.

The sector minister said another major area the government was placing much emphasis on was the agri-business sector, adding that agri-business created important linkages and investments with strong multiplier effects on growth of the economy.

He  stressed that not only was agribusiness a tool for fighting food insecurity, but it  also  stimulated increased production and had  the potentials to create wealth for smallholder farmers particularly women and rural communities.

“Developing a viable and vibrant agri-business sector in Ghana is a development challenge, but it is also a significant market opportunity for companies and particularly smallholder farmers who are the largest private investors in agriculture,” he emphasized.

Dr Akoto  explained that agri-business transformation involved value addition along the entire value chain, from providing inputs to farmers, to connecting them to consumers through general handling , processing, transporting , marketing and distribution of agriculture products, and  gave the assurance the ministry would continue to create the enabling environment to empower them.

The acting Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Frank Fuseine Adongo, entreated the National Small holder Women Farmers to take advantage of the government’s interventions provided them to empower themselves and to also contribute to food security.

He said the government had rolled out a number of initiatives for women under the PFJs for this year and urged them to take advantage of the interventions.

The Regional Programmes Manager of Action Aid Ghana (AAG), Mr Alhassan Sulemana, explained that one of the cardinal principles of AAG was to support and empower the disadvantaged and the marginalised groups like women to demand for what was due them.

He explained that it was against this background that AAG decided to support the women groups drawn from the Volta, Brong-Ahafo, Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions to organise this year’s International Day of Rural Women to drum home their plight for support.

FROM SAMUEL AKAPULE, BOLGATANGA

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