By: Paul Mamattah
The National Women Farmers’ Movement, NWFM, has called on the government through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, to work closely with the NWFM and the National Agro-ecology Movement to effectively implement its flagship programmes to the benefit of smallholder women farmers.
The Movement also appealed to the government to ensure that at least 40 percent of beneficiaries under Rearing for Food and Jobs are women and support those who do not meet the housing requirements by providing them with animal pens.
This was contained in a Communique signed by the President of the NWFM, Veronica Gbande, at the 3rd annual National Women Farmers Conference in Accra.
The three day conference was on the theme; “Building Resilient Livelihoods For Women And Smallholder Farmers Through Agro-ecology”.
The NWFM, is an advocacy group of smallholders women farmers working for the empowerment of smallholders women farmers in rural communities across the country.
The President of the National Women Farmers’ Movement, Veronica Gbande, stated that identification of beneficiaries under the Rearing for Food and Jobs Programme has taken a partisan face, depriving some women farmers whose lives can be better improved from the programme from receiving support.
She added that women farmers’ inability to meet the housing requirements under the Rearing for Food and Jobs Programme has resulted in less than49 percent of the beneficiaries being women.
Madam Gbande, pointed out that heavy reliance on synthetic and hybrid seeds that have been integrated into Planting for Foods and Jobs, as against promotion of agro-ecological practises such as organic fertilizers and farmer-managed seed system.
She therefore recommended that government should take immediate steps to halt partisan selection of beneficiaries under the Rearing for Food and Jobs Programme by ensuring the provision of opportunity to all women, regardless of the party affiliation.
Madam Gbande, demanded from government a national programme on standard measurement for farm produce to reduce exploitation of smallholder women farmers middle buyers.
The Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Sagre Bambangi, commended the women for their effort for providing food for Ghanaians.
Responding to some concerns of the National Women Farmers’ Movement, he said the women have legitimate concerns and stated that organic agriculture is one strategy which a developing country will be use to be more competitive than other countries in agriculture saying their advocacy for agroecology is in the right direction.
Dr. Bambangi also said as a country there is the need to proceed carefully so that there will be no problem with food and its price adding that the Ministry cannot ban chemicals and fertilizers.
He said the government is committed in investing into agriculture to make food secure for the country to have enough food.
Dr. Bambangi also revealed that the Planting for Food and Jobs is well on course and the Ministry, had screwed the target of one million farmers registered on the job.
The NWFM was launched in the Upper West region of Ghana in 2017, it comprises of over 10,000 smallholders women farmers, who are passionate about campaigning for sustainable agriculture by influencing government policies and programmes through engagement and advocacy work.