The revised edition of the Gender and Agriculture Development Strategy has been launched to promote women’s participation in the agricultural sector.
The 50-page document, produced last year, has nine strategic objectives aimed at addressing gaps identified in the agriculture value chain with an action plan to guide implementation and monitoring.
It also covers interventions for other vulnerable groups such as the aged, physically challenged and the youth in agriculture, to enhance their contribution in the agricultural sector.
Speaking at the launch in Accra, the Deputy Minister in charge of Livestock, Dr. Hannah Louisa Bisiw, expressed concern about the decreasing trend in the number of women involved in agriculture.
She said statistics from the 2014 Agricultural Sector Annual Report of MOFA showed a decrease from 9,298 in 2012, to 8,339 in 2013, and 6,478 in 2014.
She, was however, optimistic that the Gender and Agricultural Development Strategy II, would examine the reasons for the decrease, in accordance with policies to help address the situation.
According to the deputy minister, government was committed to gender equality and that reflected in policies initiated at all levels, as well as international agreements.
She noted the Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDEW) and Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and other instruments for the promotion of gender equality, were clear examples of such international commitments.
Dr. Bisiw, said government was working for women equality in education at the basic and tertiary levels and appointments to key management positions.
She, therefore, underscored the critical role of women in agriculture and urged that the country gave them adequate support to boost their participation in the sector.
“It is women who are making it happen in the agricultural sector through their direct involvement in agricultural production, transport services, agro-processing and marketing of agricultural products to consumers.”
“Women make up almost 50 per cent of the agriculture labour force in sub-saharan Africa, Ghana inclusive, with a total of 62 per cent of economically active women in Africa working in the agricultural sector, making it the highest employer of women. In rural communities, about 90 per cent of women are engaged in farming activities for their livelihoods,” she said.
Dr. Bisiw stressed that it was common to see women labouring on farms, carrying foodstuffs and sitting at the back of articulated vehicles and in the hot sun selling foodstuffs for the public to buy yet their income were woefully inadequate.
“With all the significant contributions of women in agricultural development in the country, they have less access to land and agricultural loans than their male counterparts,” she stressed.
By Charles Amankwa & Elizabeth Baah Arkoful