2nd National Smallholder Women Farmers Confab held in Bolga

The 2nd National Smallholder Women Farmers Conference has been held in Bolgatanga as part of this year’s celebration of International Day of Rural Women.

Speaking at the event last Friday, the Minister of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, in a speech read on his behalf, said agriculture held the fortunes to Ghana’s economic transformation, job creation and sustained food security as it employed majority of the people.

“Agriculture is no longer practice as subsistence farming, but substantially for market, profit and incomes.  Agriculture has become technology and market industry,” the Minister stressed.

It was against this background, he said, that the government had introduced a number of flagship programmes, including Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJs), One Village One Dam, One District One factory and One District One Warehouse.

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, he said.

Dr Akoto said another major area the government was placing much emphasis on was the agribusiness sector, and explained that “agribusiness creates important linkages and encourages investments in a way that can have strong multiplier effects on growth of the economy.”

He stressed that not only was agribusiness a tool for fighting food insecurity, but “it also stimulates increased production and has the potential to create wealth for smallholder farmers, particularly women and rural communities.”

He said: “developing a viable and vibrant agribusiness 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.”

Dr Akoto who explained that agribusiness 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 – assured the farmers that the Ministry would continue to create the enabling environment to empower them.

The acting Upper East Regional Minister, Frank Fuseini Adongo, entreated the farmers to take advantage of the government’s interventions to empower themselves, and contribute to food security.

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

He said it was against this background that AAG decided to support 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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