Regional News of Saturday, 31 January 2009
Tamale, Jan. 31, GNA- The Northern Region lacks the required number of agricultural extension officers to effectively educate rural farmers on best agricultural practices to improve on agriculture production in the region.
Out of the required number of 650 agriculture extension officers needed, the region has 300 with only 11 of them being women Mr. Sylvester Adongo, Regional Director of the Ministry of food and Agriculture (MOFA) disclosed this at the launch of the Women Extension Volunteer Programme in Tamale on Friday. The 45 women volunteers drawn from all the districts in the region underwent a week's training programme where, among other things, educated in basic nutrition, home and farm management, value chain education, animal health care, crop production techniques and post harvest losses.
The training programme was a collaboration between the MOFA and the Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO).
Mr. Adongo said as a result of the limited number of agriculture extension officers in the region most rural farmers do not receive the necessary technologies for agriculture development. He observed that most of the technologies could not be well disseminated by men and this therefore required that women be included for the effective promotion of improved agriculture technologies to the rural farm households.
Mr. Adongo impressed on the women volunteers to take their work seriously to enable them to make a difference and impact in the agriculture sector. He commended the VSO for its support to the agricultural ministry in the areas of livestock development and capacity building for gender based farmer organisations. Mr. Awudu Ibrahim Tanko, Country Director of VSO said the region was confronted with problems of food, health, education that needed new thinking to solve them.
He said it was for this reason that the VSO adopted new measures and strategies to involve women in the core of any new interventions in agriculture and entrepreneurship to bring about a general improvement in the lives of the people. He urged NGOs not to work in isolation but team up with the relevant government agencies and organisations to bring development to the people.
Mr. Joseph Mahama Dasana, Regional Coordinating Director in a speech read for him commended the MOFA for recognizing the contribution of women in agriculture over the years and drawing up programmes to address their felt needs.
He said MOFA was committed to the attainment of its vision of gender equity and had accordingly established a gender focal unit to facilitate the implementation of the gender and agriculture development strategy.
He said the realization of this vision was however dependent upon the commitment of all stakeholders, including the private sector and civil society working to achieve the goal. "The women extension volunteer programme requires changes and action from every member of MOFA as well as all those who are connected to Ghana's agriculture sector", Mr. Dasana said. 31 Jan 09