THIS year’s World Rural Women’s Day, on the theme, “Rural Women at the Heart of Innovation”, has been held at Yeji in the Brong Ahafo Region, with a call on the government to pay more attention to women’s needs and their perspectives.
Madam Comfort Tetteh, the Middle Zone Co-ordinator for Farmers Organisation Network in Ghana (FONG), a network made up of various women farmers and traders associations, who made the call on behalf of rural women at a durbar to mark the day, also urged the government to encourage a more balanced representation of women and men in decision-making at all levels.
She further asked donor agencies to institutionalise gender planning and budgeting to sustain initiatives for women.
World Rural Women’s Day, which falls on October 15, every year, precedes World Food Day and has been set aside by the United Nations to recognise and support the multiple roles that rural women play.
Rural women are mostly farmers and small entrepreneurs who also represent over a quarter of the world’s population and greatly contribute to the well-being of their families and the development of rural economies.
Madam Tetteh also urged the government to formulate policies for science, technology and innovation that are gender-sensitive which considered cultural norms and practices such as entrepreneurial spirit and mutual trust in sharing information and the transfer of knowledge to create an enabling environment for women to fully develop and sustain their capacity.
She stated that the government needed to stimulate co-ordination and exchange of information between organisations in the private and public sectors and strengthen institutions that fostered learning processes, innovation and access to technology for rural women.
She called for an increase in investment for research to promote environmentally friendly and sustainable farming technologies, integrated traditional knowledge and advances in agricultural sciences, such as breeding for improved crop varieties and improved management systems.
“In the context of global climate change, rural women are target groups to be affected heavily. The state and farmers’ organisations should formulate programmes and provide training for farmers, especially rural women, so that they can adapt and mitigate the negative effects of climate change,” she said.
The co-ordinator paid glowing tribute to women, especially those in rural communities engaged in food production, and called on society to recognise them and give them the needed support to ensure increased productivity and food security.
Madam Christiana Duah, the President of the Yeji Akesen Marketing Women’s Association, comprising women farmers and traders of farm produce, stressed the important role women farmers played towards attaining food security.
She appealed to the government to assist rural women engaged in agriculture and other income-generating activities with soft loans, farming inputs and fertilisers to boost production in order to reduce poverty, adding that farming was an honourable but difficult vocation.
She advised women farmers across the country to use the proceeds from their farming ventures to sponsor the education of their children, both males and females, to provide them with a better future.
Mr Masawud Mohammed, the District Chief Executive (DCE) for Pru, in his address, congratulated rural women, especially those engaged in agriculture, such as food production, processing and preservation.
He gave the assurance that the government would continue to assist them with fertilisers and other farming inputs to enable them to increase their yield to ensure food security in the country.
In an address read on his behalf, the Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr Kwadwo Nyamekye-Marfo, stressed the importance of rural women, especially farmers, to the economic development of the nation, saying apart from contributing to food security in the country, they also blended traditional methods with modern trends in food preservation and processing, which was also an innovation.
The President of FONG, Dr King David Amoah, said the day was targeted at rural woman and called on rural women farmers to close their ranks and unite to enable them to improve on their lot.
He noted that FONG had planned many training programmes on women empowerment and para-legal schemes for them to enable them to know their rights.