Women neglected in subsidised fertilizer distribution – PFAG

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The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has called on the Government to review the subsidised fertilizer programme to benefit more women, especially the vulnerable in hard-to-reach communities.

fertilizers

The Association said the pro-poor policy was a laudable initiative meant to support peasant farmers to increase yield but its mode of implementation, particularly the distribution of the fertilizer, made it hard for smallholder women farmers to benefit.

Dr Charles Kwowe Nyaaba, the Head of Programmes and Advocacy, PFAG, who made the call in Bolgatanga, said smallholder women farmers, youth and persons with disability, were being discriminated against at the distribution points and that needed to be addressed immediately.

“Experience over the years has shown that women are usually neglected when it comes to access to subsidised fertiliser because as part of the implementation plan of the policy, provision of 30 per cent allocation is supposed to go to the women but that has not been the case,” he added.

The subsidised fertiliser programme, under the government’s “Planting for Food and Jobs” was designed to provide chemical fertiliser at a reduced cost to smallholder farmers, that is people who farm between 2.5 to five acres.

The idea was to help the poor and vulnerable to have easy access to inputs to increase their yields and improve livelihoods.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of a Gender Sensitisation Workshop on the implementation of the subsidised fertiliser programme, Dr Nyaaba said the policy was rather benefiting large scale farmers at the expense of smallholder farmers.

He said women farmers played key roles in achieving food and nutritional security and the Sustainable Development Goals and urged government not only to maintain the 30 per cent allocation for women and PWDs but restructure the distribution channels to ensure they had easy access to the fertilizer.

Ms Gilberta Akuka, a peasant farmer from Sapeliga and Chairperson of PFAG, Bawku West District, said apart from the non-prioritisation of women in the distribution, there was also political interference and discrimination at the sales points.

She, therefore, advocated the inclusion of women representatives at the distribution points to ensure equality in the distribution.

“The men think that we are not strong and when we come to buy at the sales points, they push us away and this is affecting us because we always travel several miles to the district capitals to access it and yet go back with empty hands,” Ms Akuka said.

The workshop attracted leaders of women farmers and representatives from the Women in Agriculture Development (WIAD) from PFAG operational districts in northern Ghana.

The areas include Kassena-Nankana Municipal, Pusiga, Bawku West and Kassena-Nankana West districts in the Upper East Region, Sissala East in the Upper West Region, West Mamprusi and Mamprugu-Moagduri in the North East Region and Gushegu Municipality in the Northern Region.

The workshop sensitised the women farmers on the gender mainstreaming in agriculture policies and explored ways to address the challenges they face.

It was organised by the PFAG with financial support from the International Budget Partnership.

By Anthony Apubeo, GNA

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