Ghana needs a comprehensive data on women in the agricultural sector to know the numbers, peculiar challenges and proffer solutions to enhance their work, Ms Paulina Addy, Director of Women in Agriculture Development (WIAD), has said.
She said women often combine their reproductive and productive roles such as cooking, fetching water, collection of fire wood, childcare, sale of food, and cooking with their regular farming activities.
Ms Addy made the call at a stakeholder’s forum organized by Nestlé Ghana Limited to mark 2021 World Food Day (WFD) and the second anniversary of the Live Strong with Iron Campaign in Accra.
This year’s WFD event, is under the theme, “Our actions are our future- better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life”,
She said women were involved in food systems including land preparation, sowing, weeding, harvesting, value addition, and marketing, however, there was no comprehensive information on them.
“They make so many sacrifices for the good of all. Market women for instance travel far and near, through thick and thin to buy food stuffs to sell. When there is a shortage in commodities like tomatoes, they travel as far as Burkina Faso just to get some for consumption,” she said.
“We should not only pay lip service to issues of women by just recognizing that they are the backbone of agriculture. We need to take bold decisions to enhance their work and improve their livelihood”.
Mr Georgios Badaro, Managing Director of Nestlé Ghana Ltd. said, “To secure a better future for generations to come, we need to go beyond sustainability and transition to a regenerative food system – one that aims to protect and restore the environment, improve the livelihoods of farmers and enhance the well-being of farming communities.”
“Working with our food system partners, including our network of farmers and suppliers, Nestlé will advance regenerative farming practices at the heart of the food system. Nestlé cannot do it alone, we need to continue to work together with our various expertise for the good of Ghanaians”.
Mr. Kofi Essel, Head of Food Industrial Services Support Department at the Food and Drugs Authority, emphasized the importance of food safety in ensuring good health and wellbeing of Ghanaians.
He entreated the public to be food safety conscious, and highlighted that “if it is not safe, it is not food”.
Professor Matilda Steiner-Asiedu, Professor of Nutrition and Public Health Advocate speaking on healthy diets, noted that nutritious foods can be affordable. She encouraged the public to take healthy diets seriously to help prevent malnutrition as it was linked to wellbeing and productivity.
In 2019, Nestlé Ghana launched the Live Strong with Iron campaign, an Iron Deficiency Awareness campaign, which has reached about 12 million Ghanaians with education through media and community engagement.
Through Nestlé Cocoa Plan and Nestlé Cereals Plan programmes, over 20,000 farmers have benefited from capacity building and economic empowerment initiatives in Ghana.