The Upper East Region Civil Society Organisations and Private Sector Actors in Agriculture Platform has called for institutional reforms to ensure that women’s access to land is considered a human rights issue.
The move would help facilitate and formulate the requisite strategies to address challenges facing women’s access to arable lands and other productive resources for farming purposes.
The call was contained in a seven-point Communique issued at the end of a Regional Stakeholder engagement forum held in Bolgatanga on Tuesday May, 11, 2021 on Women’s Access to Arable Land and Productive Resources for Farming in the Upper East Region.
The Platform equally pointed out that access to arable land for women farmers should go alongside reliable access to water to facilitate irrigation of fields to support women’s dry season production activities.
It equally pointed out the need for traditional authorities in the Region to spearhead the reformation of outmoded cultural practices and traditions that deny women farmers access to arable land.
The Platform therefore entreated the Upper East Regional House of Chiefs to begin discussions on how best to address some of the outmoded cultural practices.
It also argued that increased women farmers’ access to arable land should form part of indicators for assessing District Assemblies’ qualification for the District Performance Assessment Tool (D-PAT).
“Traditional authorities including Chiefs and Queen Mothers working through local structures such as the traditional councils should explore opportunities for developing local level byelaws for the promotion of inclusive land tenure arrangements which prioritize women’s access to land and other productive resources” it further observed.
The Platform called on traditional authorities to work closely with landowners to prioritize facilitating access to arable lands and other productive resources for
women farmers as they have enormous potentials for contributing to food and nutrition security in the region.
It stressed the need for women farmers to mobilize themselves into farmer groups to be very useful avenues for negotiating access to lands with landowners and traditional authorities.
Addressing participants at the opening of the forum earlier, the Chairman of the Upper East (CSOs) and (PSAs) in Agriculture Platform,Mr Simon Amoah observed that between 70 and 80 percent of food consumed in Ghana were produced by women farmers.
He noted that a significant number of women were involved in almost all the various value chain processes and that if women in Agriculture were given the needed productive resources, they could produce between 20 and 30 percent more of farm produce.
The Upper East Regional Director of the Department of Agriculture, Mr Francis Ennor, stated that women’s access to arable land was important and would significantly help increase productivity in farming.
He therefore stressed the need for Chiefs and Queen mothers to evolve effective strategies to support women farmers in their respective communities to acquire land for farming activities.
Mr Ennor further observed that the Region was endowed with dams and dug outs hence women needed to be given lands to enable them produce food to enhance food security.
The Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Stephen Yakubu, in a speech read on his behalf, said discrimination against women in the acquisition of land was a human rights issue hence there was the need for effective structures to be put in place to enhance and strengthen women’s access to land.
The Upper East Regional Secretary of Women in Agriculture Platforms (WAPs), Ms Gilberta Akuka, said some of the challenges being faced by women included lack of access to land for farming and tractor services.
She explained that since the establishment of WAPs in 2016, a lot of successes had been chalked up but a lot more needed to be done to enable more women have access to farm inputs under the various flagship programmes of the government.
The forum was attended by traditional authorities, CSOs, officials of the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council, members of the WAPs and the media.
The forum was aimed at among other objectives creating a Regional platform for constructive engagement between women farmers and traditional authorities on how to address challenges of women's access to land and other productive resources.
The Upper East CSOs/PSAs in Agriculture Platform is made up of about thirty CSOs and PSAs. They include Trade Aid Integrated, WAPs, Widows and Orphans Movement, Northern Patriots in Research and Advocacy (NORPRA), Rural Initiatives for Self-Empowerment (RISE Ghana), Restorative Seed Society, Navrongo Women Health and Development, Farmer Training Centre, Presbyterian Development Services and Youth Harvest Foundation.
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