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Women farmers in the Upper East Region have commended the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Savannah Agriculture Institute (SARI), Manga station, for implementing the Donkey-Cart Transportation project in the region.
They said the provision of the donkeys and carts as means of transport would not only help to convey their farm produce from their various fields to their homes, storage facilities and market centres, but it would help them to increase productivity, reduce drudgery and post-harvest losses.
The women made the commendation during the inauguration of the Donkey-Cart Transportation project at Manga in the Binduri District, where 60 donkeys and 20 four-wheel carts were handed over to 20 women lead farmers from 10 famer groups in 10 communities from five districts in the region.
The beneficiary districts included the Bawku Municipal, Bawku West, Bindduri, Tempane and Bongo Districts and each lead farmer was given one female donkey for reproduction purposes and two donkeys for working purposes.
The labour-saving transportation initiative, facilitated by WFP, is being implemented by SARI, Manga station, in collaboration with the Upper East Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), had funding support from the government of Canada.
The pilot project, set to benefit over 1,500 farmers in the region formed part of the WFP’s Enhanced Nutrition and Value Chains (ENVAC) initiative and the Sustainable Food Systems component of the WFP Ghana’s 2019-2023 country’s strategic plan.
Madam Rebecca Awelinga, a beneficiary from the Boya-Gumo community in the Bawku West District, explained that the project was a great boost to the entire community as it would be used to transport not only the goods of her group members but other members who were not in the group but may need help.
She said unlike before, where they had to carry their farm produce on their heads and trek for several kilometres, and sometimes they were not able carry all their farm produce from the farm, which led to post-harvest losses, adding, “We can transport our crops with ease with the help of the Donkey-Cart transport systems”.
Madam Grace Asampanbila, another beneficiary from Dua community in the Bongo District expressed gratitude to the donners for the support and said the donkeys would further be used to plough their farms and help increase the quality and quantum of crops produced.
Madam Assibi Nbaagos, another beneficiary from the Boya-Zoying community in the Bawku West District, the project had further built their capacities on how to increase production, reinvest the proceeds, manage post-harvest situations among others, adding that this would enable them increase their income levels.
Madam Paulina Patience Abayage, the Upper East Regional Minister, lauded the initiative as it would help smallholder women farmers to improve their output, reduce intensity of their work, access new markets, improve their wellbeing as well as encourage young women to venture into farming as a sustainable business.
The Regional Minister urged her fellow women to inculcate maintenance culture and use the donkeys and their cart to improve their livelihoods and that when women, who formed more than half of the farming population were empowered, it would help the country achieve food security and the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly, goal two.
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