An independent consultant; Gender equality and social inclusion, Mariama Adama Issah has said, women are supposed to be farmers and not helpers to men. She was speaking at an engagement with women, on the rice value chain. Which brought together women smallholder farmers, Aggregators, Processes and Marketers, in all ninety (90) women from the Wa municipal were involved. The programme took place at the forecourt of the office of Unity and Progressive Women Rice Farmers Cooperative Society.
Modernizing Agriculture is a five (5) year Ministry of Agriculture (MOFA) project in collaboration with Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection with funding support from the Canadians. Two consultants has been identified to carry out a gender base analysis of each Region so as to identify their(women) challenges, the pacific needs of women in the value chain and how they can be addressed.
In the Upper West Regional, MOFA selected the rice value chain for Wa Municipal and soya for the Wa West District. The intension of the programme is to develop regional action plan.
Madam Mariam said the narrative should change, culturally women are seen as helpers to men and not farmers. Meanwhile women do eighty percent (80%) of the work on farm and off farm, men drop along the value chain but women continues until food is placed on our tables.
The independent consultant to the Modernizing Agriculture project disclosed to RadioWaa news, some of the challenges she has identified, the Agricultural Extension officers turn to reach more men than women, due to the cultural perception that, discourages male extension officers from engaging more with married women. Also, “I have identified that, there is huge challenge when it comes to extension officers in the Region, though they are doing their work but they are given a vast areas to cover, and due to lack of logistics they are not able to cover the whole area”. This project will help MOFA deliver on its mandate. The modernizing agricultural project will be free from political interference, Mariama assured farmers.