Reducing barriers to women’s economic empowerment is the fastest way to accelerate economic growth, especially in the Ghanaian context where a large number of women are engaged in key activities like agriculture, Heather Cameron, Canadian High Commissioner to Ghana, has observed.
She said, addressing the constraints to women’s economic empowerment is necessary for lasting, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, adding that it is therefore imperative to tackle the challenges undermining the capabilities of women in agriculture, such as access to inputs and extension services in order to transform them from ‘low-paid informal labourers to successful farm and business owners.’
“Despite women making up more than half of the agricultural labour force, only 2% of female headed households currently receive extension services. There is a huge opportunity to increase the number of female agricultural extension agents and reach more women. This is simply smart economics, with many positive multiplier effects on the economy,” she stated.
Madam Cameron noted the Canadian government’s case study in the country alludes to the fact with that the right type of interventions, significant progress can be made in the agriculture sector.
She said: “We’ve mobilized over 23,000 female farmers in Upper West Region to grow soybean –and have seen their yields increase by 380% per acre since the start of the project. Programming in maize has increased yields by 250% per acre and groundnuts by 500% per acre. We’ve seen incomes rise and hunger and nutrition gaps fall.”
The Canadian Envoy made these remarks in a speech read for her at the national launch of government’s flagship ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ campaign at Goaso in the Brong Ahafo Region. The initiative is aimed at ‘revolutionizing’ agriculture to increase productivity and create about 750,000 jobs.
She commended the government for the visionary step to help transform the economy through agriculture, saying “Canada has long understood the significant role that agriculture plays in Ghana. In fact, it is one of the important things we have in common: knowing this, for over two decades, Canada has been an unwavering supporter of Ghanaian farmers.”
“We share the government of Ghana’s vision of agriculture as an engine for economic growth in the country, for ensuring domestic food security and for meeting nutrition needs. We also want Ghanaian farmers to be growing domestic food for the population, while creating jobs and increasing revenues,” the Canadian High Commissioner added.
To this end, the Canadian has already voted 125 million Canadian dollars to support the implementation of the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ campaign.