The Association of Women in Cassava Farming and Processing (AWCFP) in the Abura-Asebu-Kwamankese (AAK) District of the Central Region, has called on the government to prioritize its cultivation and processing to end malnutrition, hunger and grow agribusinesses.
That, they believe would give impetus to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) to end hunger and ensure access by all people, the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round.
“Moreover, it will ensure that women and girls, everywhere, have equal rights and opportunity, and be able to live free of violence, discrimination and an inclusive and sustainable development.”
Madam Beatrice Asiedu Gyan, leader of the Association told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview that poverty threatened the achievement of the SDGs, and that any pro-poor policy, which did not prioritize the critical needs of women should be re-examined and re-assessed.
To that end, she called for the inclusion of the Tropical Starch Factory, the only factory that buys their produce to sustain the business of more than 300 AWCFP members and create more jobs.
Tropical Starch factory, leading starch manufacturing company, has more than 300 direct and indirect workers working on over 100-acre cassava plantation.
Madam Gyan said the all-important tropical root crop is a major source of dietary energy for more than 500 million people and known to be the highest producer of carbohydrates among staple crops.
Accounting for about 152.9 kg per capita consumption, the crop is one of the most processed into gari, fufu powder and kokonte to increase its shelf life and an industrial crop with high starch content.
Madam Gyan mentioned productive resources such as improved quality seeds, subsidized fertilizers, tractor and extension services among others as their priorities that would boost their agricultural business if they were made readily available to them.
She also appealed for small to medium scale agro-processing machinery to improve value addition and marketing under the Planting for Food and Jobs, Rearing for Food and Jobs, and Mechanization for Food and Jobs Programmes, for their economic empowerment.
She entreated women farmers to continue to mobilize themselves into groups to take advantage of the number of opportunities created by the government to enhance their socio-economic well-being.
She said men dominated the management of agriculture, but women dominated the janitorial ranks such as farm hands in the value chain, adding “these women if supported could do more for themselves and the nation at large.”
“Women lack access to secure farmlands, which limit their ability to participate in government interventions like Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD).”
“We look forward to seeing women win Best farmer Awards at all levels, even the ultimate, National Best Farmer Award,” he said.
By Isaac Arkoh, GNA