MTN Foundation empowers rural women


MTN Foundation, in partnership with Defarmercist Group – a consultancy firm that promotes sustainable and efficient greenhouse farming practices, has offered a free, extensive training and a start-up package worth GH¢6,000 to women farmers as part of activities commemorating this year’s International Day of Rural Women.

The partnership underscores MTN’s commitment to combatting the scourge of gender inequities in the agricultural sector. At a brief ceremony at Santeo in the Greater Accra Region, MTN Foundation explained that the event seeks to expose women farmers in rural areas to new and better ways of farming.

The training targets 40 women from rural communities in the Greater Accra Region, women who are into agriculture, and is in line with the company’s commitment to empowering rural women to venture into commercial farming; and also encourage them to adopt sustainable and efficient methods of farming.

The training equipped the beneficiaries with skills on how to adopt simple agricultural technologies to improve yield.

In Ghana, women constitute an estimated 52 percent of the agricultural labour force and produce 70 percent of food crops in the country.  It is interesting to know that the majority of women who farm in rural areas lack knowledge of efficient farming methods.

Adwoa Wiafe, Chief Corporate Services and Sustainability Officer at MTN Ghana Foundation, noted the urgent need to invest in women who are venturing into agriculture. She added that women who farm in rural areas are highly disadvantaged as they lack the requisite exposure to emerging sustainable methods for improving crop yields and productivity.

“This year, we have chosen to focus on rural women who are farmers and the role they play. A lot of women engage in farming but are not exposed to ways of improving their yields; so we felt that in celebrating International Day of Rural Women and focusing on farmers, it would be a good opportunity to focus on women who farm in rural areas,” she said.

Among other things, she appreciated that these technologies may be cumbersome for the beneficiaries to adopt; however, the overarching aim is to lay bare for participants the sustainable methods which can be adopted to increase their crop yield.

Speaking on sustainability, she acknowledged how lack of exposure coupled with the current economic woes compounds the situation of rural farmers producing solely for sustenance. She is hopeful that through such training, rural women will be equipped with the requisite knowledge, and also empowered to explore other efficient means of commercialising their produce.

Chief Operating Officer at Defarmercist, Alex Afari, for his part schooled participants on productivity. He explained that leveraging emerging technologies can significantly improve productivity.

Moreover, he said increasing usage of farmlands for housing purposes is casting a dark shadow on agriculture – hence the need to adopt technological advancements in maximising yield in a smaller space.  He emphasised the use of farming techniques such as nurseries, land preparation and the use of soluble fertiliser to increase crop yields.

He advised participants to refrain from solely relying on rainfed cultivation.

In an interview with Sarah Amaglo, a beneficiary and vegetable farmer, she expressed profound gratitude to MTN Ghana Foundation for the opportunity to learn from experts in the field.

“I didn’t know I could dig a well and treat the water to irrigate my farm. I only depended on the natural rainfall patterns.”

She added: “I have learned I don’t need a vast land to farm, I can utilise my small land to cultivate by embracing these technologies”.

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