Women farmers in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region are appealing to the government to prioritize their needs under its agricultural flagship programmes for increased production.
They mentioned productive resources such as improved quality seeds, subsidized fertilizers, tractor and extension services among others as their priorities that would boost their agricultural business if they were made readily available to them.
They also appealed for small to medium scale agro-processing machinery to improve value addition and marketing under the Planting for Food and Jobs, Rearing for Food and Jobs, and Mechanization for Food and Jobs Programmes, for their economic empowerment.
The farmers made the call when they contributed to discussions at a District level stakeholder forum on the empowerment of women farmers, organized by the Northern Patriots in Research and Advocacy (NORPRA).
The forum was intended to create a common platform for women farmers to engage with duty bearers on critical issues affecting the growth and development of women in agriculture.
Speaking at the forum, Mr Mathew Sulemana, the Talensi District Director of Agriculture, disclosed that the various quantities of farm inputs especially subsidized fertilizers and seeds were distributed to farmers in the District from 2018 to 2020.
He said in 2018, male farmers in the District received 1,983 bags of subsidized fertilizers out of a total of 13,500 bags, while women farmers had 413 bags.
Mr Sulemana said the distribution gap was not different in 2019 and 2020. Out of the 5,019 subsidized NPK fertilizers that were distributed in 2019, women had only 160 of the bags while the rest were distributed to male farmers.
On Rearing for Food and Jobs, the Director said Ghana produced less than 30 per cent of meat consumed, which implied that over 240,000 metric tonnes of meat representing over 70 per cent consumed were imported with an amount of over US$ 375 million annually.
He said the objectives of the Rearing for Food and Jobs were to increase domestic livestock production, decrease importation of livestock products, generate employment for the unemployed youth and improve the livelihoods of livestock value chain actors and the national economy.
Mr Bismark Adongo Ayorogo, the Executive Director of NORPRA, said poverty was more pronounced among women, and noted that rural women were the hardest hit.
He said poverty posed a serious threat to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adding that, any pro-poor policy, which did not prioritize the critical needs of women needed urgent re-examination and re-assessment.
Dr Christopher Boatbil, the Talensi District Chief Executive, said women empowerment of all forms for improved livelihoods was the priority of the government.
He entreated women farmers to continue to mobilize themselves into groups to take advantage of the number of opportunities created by the government to enhance their socio-economic well-being.