Agribusiness advocates financial support to boost sector
Panellists at an agribusiness forum in Accra have called for financial support from banks, the government and development partners to finance their businesses.
They also asked for improved seeds, subsidised fertilisers, processing machines and transport facilities to enhance their agriculture business.
The panellists, queens from the Central North East, Northern, Savanna, Upper West, Volta, Western, and Western North regions, who were speaking at a forum dubbed the ‘Gathering of the Royals,’ said support from stakeholders in the agriculture sector would go a long way to boost their businesses.
It was organised by the Agrihouse Foundation, a non-governmental agricultural capacity-building organisation, on the theme “Championing Agri-Growth Through our Queen Mothers – the Agribooster Module”.
The queen from Dzodze Apetepe, Mama Yorfomi Gliqui II, from the Volta Region, who is a commercial farmer and has 150 acres of rice, cassava and maize farms, said women in agriculture needed low-interest loans to finance their businesses.
She said women farmers faced difficulty in accessing loans, indicating that lack of financing was a big challenge to them.
She said women could become financially independent if they were supported to engage in farming, pointing out that farming was a profitable business.
A queen from the Savanna Region, Braimah Azara-Kabachewurche Bunyaso I, a commercial farmer with 12 acres of farms and cultivates cashew and
rears turkey, stressed the need for women farmers to be provided with subsidised fertilisers to boost their farming.
She said the lack of a transportation means to cart farm produce to marketing centres remained a challenge to farmers.
A queen mother from Nandom in the Upper West Region, Pognaa Leticia Tantuo, a commercial farmer with about 14 hectares of soybean and maize, said viable seeds would help boost her business.
Ms Tantuo called on the government to assist women farmers in the Upper West Region
with farming equipment, such as tractors, to till their lands.
The 2022 Gold in the Soil Award Winner from the Western Region, Madam Evelyn Andoh, who owns 108 acres of plantain, cocoa, oil palm, cocoyam, cassava and vegetables, said quality fertilisers would enhance the farming business of women.
She said the poor road network in the villages made it difficult to transport their farm produce to the marketing centres.
“It is very expensive to use human labour to cart our farm produce from the farms since the farms are located far away from town,” Madam Andoh stated.
The Executive Director of AgriHouse Foundation, Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa, said strengthening partnerships and collaborative efforts among traditional leaders and stakeholders, including the academia, policymakers, development agencies and agric institutions, were steps in the right direction towards empowering women farmers and ensuring their sustainability.
She said over the years, the efforts of AgriHouse had created more productive and empowering avenues for women in the agric value chain.
STORIES BY KINGSLEY ASARE