The acting Director of the Women in Agriculture Development Directorate (WIAD), Ms Paulina Addy, has said that women in agriculture are important to the entire agriculture value chain and should be enabled to benefit more equally from the allocation of resources.
She noted that in spite of their roles in the sector, they were sometimes disadvantaged when it comes to access to markets, new technology, market information, financial service, education and training opportunities.
“Women are pivotal to the whole agric value chain and therefore, we must look at their prospects and see how best we can get good business out of agric. It may not be easy and may not necessarily be about the money, but getting the right technology to move on,” she stated in an interview on March 11, 2019, prior to an exhibition on Made-In Ghana in Accra.
She said empowering and investing in women could increase agriculture productivity, improve food security and enhance livelihoods.
“WIAD is working to enhance the contribution of women to agriculture. For the youth, we have done the talking at the tertiary level about the prospects. Also, we have youth in agric programme where we take them through the component on livelihoods,” she explained.
Products on display included processed and neatly packaged brown rice, millet, coconut and palm kernel oil, organic palm soup extract, sweet potato buns, groundnut cake and palm oil.
Ms Addy said it was a way to empower people on the operations of WIAD, among other things within the agriculture space.
The women were taught various food names, how they were prepared and the business prospects as well.
Ms Addy said WIAD had a number of women who had excelled in agric. Some had been sent on training and exchange programmes outside Ghana.
These women were often trained on how to focus on nutrition, food safety and food handling in the course of food processing.
“We have given a lot of women businesses in the sector. Soya bean, for example, has been promoted so much and some have added it to gari,” she stated.
WIAD has its own challenges of limited funding, inadequate human resource and logistics which have restricted it from attaining its vision of being “a highly competent public institution that supports livelihoods and the well-being of especially women in the agricultural sector”.
Looking ahead, Ms Addy said WIAD would seek to build capacity and at the same time demand accountability.