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General News of Monday, 4 September 2017

Source: B&FT Online

Low education among female farmers worrying

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Low level of education among women farmers, mostly in rural areas, is affecting their ability to adopt modern technologies, thereby limiting their yields and incomes.

The situation, which is rife in most parts of the country, has also been identified as one of the major causes of food insecurity, leading to high poverty rates especially in the rural parts of the three regions of the north.

According to the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the low of level of education, coupled with lack of access to credit and insurance, is impeding women’s participation in the agriculture sector.

SARI disclosed this during a brainstorming workshop held at Nyankpala, in the Northern Region, to discuss results of a study on groundnut production.

In order to help bridge the knowledge and production gaps between male and female farmers, the institute urged government and other stakeholders in the value chain, to invest more in female farmer education.

Desmond Sunday Adogoba, a Statistician and Research Fellow at SARI, noted that this will not only help boost agriculture and improve food security, but will also empower thousands of families across the country.

Commenting on the study on women’s participation in groundnut production, he explained that the study was able to identify key determinants of productivity across the study area and the challenges that women face in groundnut production.

The results of the study show a gender productivity gap of 2.74 percent for male and female smallholder farmers in the Northern, and a 3.24 per cent and 6.69 percent gap in the Upper East and Upper West regions respectively.

Desmond Sunday Adogoba said groundnut production is a huge business that needed support and markets to enable the farmers have value for money as well encourage more young women to venture into the business.

"The identification of the underlined factors that account for the productivity gaps between male and female groundnut farmers will help bridge production gaps, hence an enhancement in the productivity of groundnut cropping sector through informed government policies on gender and agriculture productivity," he stated.

On her part, Madam Jummai Yila, a Gender Research Scientist, stressed the need for researchers to give proper feedback on all researches conducted, to enable the communities know the outcome of the information gathered.

She also called on government to consider adding gender sensitive crops to empower women to be able to feed their families.

The workshop, supported by the Tropical Legumes (TL) III project, with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was to map out strategies to bridge the gaps in crop production.

The event, which was based on a study conducted on gender productivity gaps in groundnut production across northern Ghana, between January and February this year, recommended that women should be encouraged to take part in field trials or demonstrations and educational programmes, since they act as the basis for technology transfer.

Participants at the event also called on government to promote favourable financial policies to encourage more female farmers to take up loans to expand their farms to be able to feed their families and the nation at large, as well as reduce poverty rates in the rural areas.

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