Business News of 2014-06-26

Women farmers get tractors, cash

Women in subsistence agriculture still remain formidable in spite of the many challenges they face on the job, including working with simple tools such as the hoe and machete.

Hundreds of women in the Upper West Region, some of them either widowed or divorced, are single-handedly taking care of their families with proceeds from produce from their farms.

They also engage in other ventures such as brewing “sobolo” and “pito” (local drinks) for sale, fetching water for a fee, leather works and animal rearing to supplement their meagre incomes.

The women grow crops such as groundnuts, maize, millet, rice and yam, and are also engaged in the collection of dawadawa and mango fruits, all these in addition to their sex-specific role as childbearers and home managers.

Majority of them are illiterates and are discriminated against by males. The women are left out even in matters relating to the development of their communities because they are poor.

Mission Aid Africa

It is in the light of these that Mission Aid Africa, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) with a focus in agriculture, is assisting five women groups with a tractor each and credit facility estimated at GH¢105,000 to boost their farming activities, having realised the inherent capabilities of the women. The farmer groups are to repay the cost of the tractors under hire purchase arrangement.

The beneficiary groups are the Lambunuma, Katisungbalba, Nanyile, Tawunobaye and Katisugtamalyiri. There are 35 to 50 farmers in a group.

Besides the offer of tractors, the NGO further intends to assist the farmers with fertilisers and will help them to come by suitable markets for their produce.

"With these interventions in place, the groups do not need to wait too long to begin farming, especially since they depend on the rains,” said Mr Emmanuel Yobor, the Chief Executive Officer of Mission Aid Africa.

According to him, the NGO will establish a process whereby farmer groups will be assisted to enable them to start planting at the right time. That, he observed, would go a long way to alleviate poverty among the women.

He expressed regret with the practice of the land tenure system which made it difficult for the women to expand the acreage of their farms.

"With its vast stretch of fertile lands, the region has the potential of becoming a thriving agricultural production area if it is given the required assistance, which can be propelled through a private-public partnership," he said.

Mr Yobor expressed the hope that the beneficiaries of the tractors would offer services to other farmers.

Expression of gratitude

On behalf of the farmer groups, Madam Faustina Laadi Dakurah, a gender activist, who also presided over the presentation ceremony, expressed her joy to the NGO.

She urged the various groups to work hard to justify the trust reposed in them by the NGO and also ensure that the tractor equipment was well maintained.

Madam Tuotama Dasah, a member of the Katisugtamalyiri group, promised to work hard and produce enough food to curtail the incidence of food shortage in the area.

She appealed to benevolent organisations and individuals to assist the groups with agro-processing and irrigation facilities on hire purchase, especially as the dry season drew near.

She was confident that with logistic support, good management practices and assistance, and credit, farming would be a lucrative enterprise in the region.

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