General News of Wednesday, 30 June 2010
Accra, June 30, GNA - Women farmers dominate post-harvest management in Ghana, according to a research by Ghana Agricultural Union Workers (GAWU) assisted by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). It said women considered destruction by rodents and birds of produce during drying as the most important post-harvest challenge while men thought spoilage during transportation was the most important post-harvest challenge.
The research recommended that women should be encouraged to participate in discussions on issues concerning post-harvest management; while policies on post-harvest management should incorporate gender roles and needs into agricultural training programmes offered to extension workers to minimise losses, especially to women. It said more women were involved in food crop production and post-harvest management of crops, making agriculture a critical sector for women in Ghana; and, therefore, called for special initiatives for women processors, traders and increase in women extension workers, especially in areas where cultural practices prevented men from communicating directly with women.
The research was released at a sensitisation seminar organised for the media on post-harvest management of food crops and women empowerment in Ghana. Mr Kofi Asamoah, Secretary General of Ghana Trades Union Congress, (GTUC) said women constitute about 50 per cent of active labour force in the agricultural sector, which indicated an equal gender representation in the sector. He said food producers, and particularly women's roles, in the sector were further challenged by their inability to access productive resources including fertile land, labour and inputs for their farming activities, thereby threatening national and household food security. Mr Asamoah said agriculture was the dominant economic activity, contributing about 40 per cent of total Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It also accounts for about 50 per cent of the country's export earnings, provides employment to about 60 per cent of the active working population, majority of whom are small-scale rural farmers engaged in food crops, livestock and fisheries production.
He noted that developing the agriculture sector was, therefore, critical for poverty reduction. Mr Asamoah explained that the sector also contributed immensely to ensuring food security and provided incomes to majority of Ghanaians, especially the rural population. He said GTUC and its support partners were working with men and women in at least five rural communities in each district to promote economic empowerment of rural women through various post-harvest losses control measures. Mr Asamoah said about 2,000 men and women farmers had benefited from training on "effective gender-sensitive post-harvest management" and appropriate equipment and materials were given to selected communities. He urged the management of Agricultural Development Bank to collaborate with government to provide credit facilities to farmers. 30 June 10