Peasant Farmers ask government to provide clear guidance on role of women in new PFJ

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Dr Charles Nyaaba, Executive Director, Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG), has called on the Ministry of Foods and Agriculture (MOFA) to speed up with the implementation of the new Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ 2) with clear guidance on the role of women in the aggregation system.

He said Ghana was at a crucial stage where food inflation was one of the highest in Africa, hence, the need for the Ministry as a matter of urgency to withdraw all taxes on agro-inputs to ensure price reduction.

Dr Nyaaba made these remarks during a stakeholder workshop organised by PFAG on the role of women in the new Planting for Food and Jobs programmme.

He said, “we want to see the Ministry complying with the Malabo Declaration of devoting at least 10 per cent of budgetary allocation to MOFA, where they will base on that to give critical role to women in the agriculture development by equipping their offices with logistics to reach out to the rural women.”

The Executive Director said the role of women in the agricultural sector remained critical to the survival of all the other sectors of the economy, such that they continued to play a critical role in the stability of the country.

Dr Nyaaba said in Ghana women accounted for over 70 per cent of total food production and that they dominated in value addition, processing, packaging, and trading in all kinds of food commodities.

He said the Food and Agriculture Organisation found that improving women’s access to productive resources would enable them to produce 20 to 30 per cent more food and could increase national agricultural outputs by as much as four per cent.

The Executive Director said the PFAG analysis of the PFJ programme in 2022 found a series of challenges ranging from difficulty paying fertilizer and seed suppliers, smuggling, poor quality of seeds and fertilizer and consistent reduction in the subsidy component to farmers.

Dr Nyaaba said PFAG was disappointed that the crisis in countries like Burkina Faso and Niger would have an impact on food supply when Ghana is endowed with all the rich soils and river bodies for production of food for domestic consumption and for export.

“Our meeting today is to promise Ghanaians, the Government and MOFA that we are willing to contribute our best to revise the current food inflation and supply enough Tomatoes, onions, pepper, cassava, yam, Maize, Rice, and others to avoid dependence on our neighbours.

Madam Stella Chibelitu, Women Representative, PFAG, said women’s contributions were not valued as they had to deal with many barriers and lack of resources, and were left out of the decision-making process at various levels.

She said these challenges affect women farmers in one way or another, whether from the South or the North.

Madam Chibelitu said the government had attempted to support farmers in general with different interventions including the PFJ, but there had not been a deliberate effort to address the challenges women faced.

The Women’s Representative said, “in fact, we are disappointed in the arrangements for the old PFJ, which did not offer any benefit for us, especially after 2017.”

She indicated that the Government must not leave them behind in the new PFJ and that they should ensure that the aggregators were not just wealthy people who were not necessarily farmers but interested in profits.

“There are able farmer groups and female aggregators that will be able to make good use of this support if given the opportunity,” she stressed.

By Edward Dankwah, GNA

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