Women in farming need support to change the narratives-National best farmer

By Bertha Badu-Agyei

Accra, April 18, GNA – Madam Charity Akortia, Ghana’s 2023 national best farmer, has observed that there is the need for a targeted strategy aimed at supporting women farmers to strengthen their role in agriculture.

“There is the need to give women in farming some kind of leverage to take farming to the level where it becomes a business venture and not the usual peasant and smallholder farming category, which always make it difficult for women to enter into farming at all,” she said.

Madam Akortia said farming required funding to ensure all the inputs, logistics and ingredients needed for production were strictly adhered to, for improved yield, which gave farmers encouragement to stay in the business.

She said often women in farming were faced with the challenge of purchasing farm inputs such as fertilizers among others for lack of funding, coupled with the difficulty to access loans due to the high-risk nature of their farms which unfortunately were not insured.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency at the side-lines of a five-day training workshop for the national farmers day women award winners, Madam Akotia, called for an intentional support targeted at women farmers to impact on the agriculture landscape in Ghana.

The training which is the second of its kind to build the capacities of 25 women, including the national best farmer for 2023, was organised by Policy LINK as part of a project to improve the lot of women in the agriculture sector.

The Feed the Future (FTF) Ghana Policy LINK activity is a five-year project supporting the Government of Ghana and policy actors to implement evidence-based and inclusive development processes to transform the agriculture sector and food security system.

Madam Akortia, who shared her journey of 31 years in farming culminating into the ultimate award winner, said she started as a farm help while in school, to support her education and decided to go into farming to support her meagre salary after she was posted to the central region as a teacher.

From a humble beginning of farming in vegetables on a hired plot, she now boasts of 855 acres of assorted plantations and animal husbandry with over 85,000 birds which began with an initial 50 birds.

“From my own experience it has not been easy, I recall how my colleagues used to discourage me from farming just because they thought I was stressing for nothing and that is why I think we must be intentional in supporting women to go into farming.”

She was optimistic that the institution of building the capacities of women farmer awardees, which went beyond just training would be the platform to churn out many women national best farmers as well as encourage the youth to go into farming and commended policy LINK for showing interest in women in the agriculture sector.

The training of women national best farmers day award winners has led to the formation of an all women farm-based association known as Ghana Association of Female Agricultural and Fish Farming Award Winners (GAFAFAW) to champion the cause of women in the sector.