Agricultural policies must be gender responsive – NETRIGHT

Prof. Dzodzi Tsikata (middle) speaking during the discussion

The Network for Women’s Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT) has organized a round-table discussion as part of its project of strengthening gender responsive policy processes in the agricultural sector

The project is part of a broader programme on enhancing private sector participation in agricultural policy process in Ghana under the USAID Ghana Feed the Future (FtF) Agriculture Policy Support Project (APSP)

The round-table discussion was held to provide a space for dialogue among legislators and policy makers to pay more attention to gender policies in the Agricultural sector to promote gender equality.

Currently, it is estimated that women comprise 52% of the Agricultural labour force in Ghana and contribute about 70% of food crop production in the country. However, women reap minimal benefits from investments in the sector due to high rate of illiteracy, low access to new technologies in Agriculture and limited access to credit and financial services.

Speaking at the round-table discussion on the theme: “Strengthening Gender Responsive Policy Processes in the Agricultural Sector”, Programme Manager of NETRIGHT, Patricia Akakpo, said: “A Gender Responsive Act will go a long way to address some of the inequalities in the sector. And this can be done through constant and active engagement with legislators and stakeholders.”

The Director of the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon, Professor Dzodzi Tsikata noted that: “Research has established that, women’s contribution to agriculture in Ghana and in Africa was very high and had the potential to determine the success or failure of the sector.”

She, therefore, called for policy interventions to address the gender gaps to enable women, in particular, maximise their opportunities and hard work in the sector.
Professor Tsikata attributed some of the difficulties in the sector to policy failure which needed to be addressed.

According to NETRIGHT, even though the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme is expected to transform Ghana’s Agricultural sector, little attention may be given to women who are small holder farmers if there is no advocacy to raise their voices. They added that the inclusion of female farmers in the PFJ programme will make it more equitable, sustainable, and productive than one based on a large scale farm model.

Present at the discussion was the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Land and Forestry, Francis Manu Adabor, who noted that there would be a meeting with the committees to make sure that policies made in the agricultural sector are gender sensitive and expressed his support to the activities of NETRIGHT in the agricultural sector.

Also present at the meeting was the Chief of Party for USAID Ghana Feed the Future (FtF) Agriculture Policy Support Project (APSP), Walter Nunez-Rodriguez, who said his outfit believed raising awareness of women’s inclusion in agriculture development would address the gender gaps and accelerate the sector’s development thus, the support for NETRIGHT to achieve its aim of gender equality in the Agricultural sector.

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