Business News of 2013-12-06

Women miss out on top farmers award

History was made on November 5, 2004, when Madam Efua Frimpomaa was crowned the National Best Farmer during the 20th National Farmers Day Awards in Ho in the Volta Region.

As of the time, the 75-year-old Madam Efua Frimpomaa (she is now 84 years) from Agona Nkum in the Central Region beamed with smiles as she was decorated with a sash by former President John Agyekum Kufuor.

Her prize was a fully furnished 400-million cedi three-bedroom house to be built at a place of her choice.

That year, the second and third best national farmers were Nana Kwaku Siaw I, 33, of Kumah Farms complex in the Ashanti Region and Mr Mahamadu Mbila Asaki, 49, from Zebilla in the Bawku-West District in the Upper-East Region.

The mother of 11, Madam Efua Frimpomaa, was also the Central Regional and Agona District Overall Best Farmer for 1993 and 1990 respectively.

Having received the baton from the 2003 winner, Mr Adjei Twum Bandoh of Sekyere East District in the Ashanti Region, Madam Efua Frimpomaa became the first woman to receive the award since its inception in 1985.

Since her reign as the first female to be crowned the National Best Farmer, no female has been crowned the ultimate prize in farming in the country.

Although some females have won awards in the various categories and even as regional best farmers, the ultimate award has been won only once by a female out of the 28 persons who have been named.

Constituting about 50 per cent of active labour in the agricultural sector, women are well noted for their significant role in the agricultural sector. However, their efforts have been recognised on very few occasions.

The factors

The reasons why women remain at the backroom of the National Farmers Day Awards are not far-fetched.

There are several factors which to contribute to the place of women in the agricultural sector.

One reason is the cultural beliefs in Ghana which place more emphasis on men than women.

Another has to do with landownership. In many places women do not have access to land.

Most of the cultural practices which inhibit the progress of women and also place a limitation on them need to be changed.

It is amazing that women are not even allowed to be members of the regional and national houses of chiefs.

Women’s contributions are not always ignored but rather due to the fact that they are seen to be just supporting their husbands, the glory is always given to their husbands.

Again, the continuous use of manual technologies also deter women, as farming with manual technologies demand strength and energy.

It is time efforts were made to introduce more simple technologies to women and educate them on the best practices to make farming more attractive to them.

Unless some arrangements are made to recognise and encourage the contributions of women in the agricultural sector, women would still remain on the fringes of National Best Farmers Awards.