Nongovernmental organization SEND Ghana says lack of dedicated lands for farming and influx of real estate developers are impeding farming activities in the country.
According to SEND Ghana their research identified more females are involved in small scale farming as compared men. “Our role as women is to do our house chores early then go to the farm; because of the role of women they are unable to farm in large scale” as stated by one woman.
SEND Ghana made the discourse during a national dialogue on the theme: promoting economic justice and food security using gender responsive budgeting; situational assessment of crop farmers in Dodowa and Fisher Folks in James Town.
The objective of their research was to assess the interests, needs and priorities of crop farmers and fisher folks, and identify potential gender gaps between women and men in these sectors within the Greater Accra Region organized by SEND Ghana with the support of Oxfam in Accra.
Presenting the findings, Nana Kwesi Ackah said the fishing industry alone contributes 5% of GDP in Agriculture and 3% of total GDP. “It includes marine, inland (fresh water) and aquaculture fishery, as well as related activities in fish storage, preservation, marketing and distribution. The marine fishes constitute approximately 80% of fish consumed in Ghana” he added.
The field officer indicated that high interest rates makes it difficult for Fisher Folks to access loans. “Men are able to access loans much more easily than women. This is because the loans available are for purchasing fishing gears mainly used by men. Some of the loans are in the form of outboard motors for which men pay in installments” he pointed out.
He also said both women and men pointed out that it is difficult accessing the fishing inputs such as premix fuel, canoes, outboard motors and the fishing nets. “Please i am pleading if the outboard motor will be provided as promised by government, it should come in a way that all of us will have access to it; most of us don’t get access to it and its very painful” a plea from one woman.
On extension services their research found that both male and female farmers do not have access to extension services as desirable. This was due to the unavailability of extension officers at Dodowa and those who had access to them had to pay to secure their services.
Deputy Country Director for SEND Ghana encouraged the government to enforce by-laws to properly regulate the activities of fishing trawlers and recruit more extension officers to meet the FAO recommended ratio of 1 Agric Extension Officer to 500 farmers and equip them with the needed tools.
Dr. Emmanuel Ayifah added that policies and programmes introduced must focus on bringing the best to the crop farmer or fisher folks rather than making their work difficult as some farmers suggested.
Acting Head, Research, Statistics and Information Management at the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development said government is leveraging new agriculture technologies to unlock potentials in the agriculture value chain in the country to stimulate economic growth and job creation.
Rev. Enoch Baodu Amo added “we’re doing that through partnerships to build a strong and resilient economy”.
Mrs. Adamtey Naomi, a farmer called for gender equity in distribution of resources.“Provide equal opportunities for all” she appealed and added that the agriculture sector is fragmented across different state agencies with dubious contracting practices.
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