The Food and Agriculture Organization, (FAO), is of the view that if women worldwide had the same access to productive resources as their male counterparts, they could up their game in agricultural production and help lift 100 to 150 million people out of hunger.
Statistics in Ghana indicate that majority of the women are into agriculture and its related activities as their main source of income.
To actualize FAO’s assertion in a modest way and to further prepare people at the grassroots, especially women, to up their game economically, an Agric Business and Food Security Society known as Katitetaah Maali Lanbuure (KAMALA) has launched a Community Network for Resilience and Agricultural Transformation (CONRAT) Project at Nadowli.
In this piece, GBCs Emmanuel Mensah-Abludo says the Project launch was facilitated by an NGO, Women Integrated Development Organization (WIDO) with funding from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Tapping Innovative Financing sources
The Executive Director of WIDO, David Bagonluri Paapa who made a presentation at the event asked women and other vulnerable groups at the grassroots to seize the opportunity by accessing funding from innovative public and private sources for the improvement of forestry and farm products.
He observed that many a time, vulnerable groups are not able take advantage of financing facilities available for them because of lack of information and capacity.
Mr. Bagonluri intimated that the launch of the $10,000.00 CONRAT project will enable activities to be carried out to build the capacities of members of KAMALA on negotiation, conflict management and participation among others to hone the skills of members for sustainable management of forests and farms.
KAMALA as a Change-Agent
The society (KAMALA) currently has 56 groups across three districts of the Upper West Region of Ghana.
Three of the KAMALA groups are in the Wa Municipality, 15 in the Daffiama-Bussie-Issa District (DBI) with Nadowli-Kaleo District hosting 38 of them.
Under the project, WIDO is capacitating the KAMALA group as a primary change agent in climate resilient landscapes as well as facilitating collaboration to improve the management of forest and farm resources to increase the income of smallholder farmers, especially women.
The CONRAT project will among others help in strengthening the capacity of KAMALA which has a membership of almost 1,800 in five zones across the project districts in policy engagement with duty bearers. In bid to uphold gender sensitivity, the project will identify key gender and social inclusion issues to understand the relationships between men and women, as well as excluded groups.
The CONRAT Project which will run for 8 months has KAMALA, FAO, MoFA, the Forestry Division of the Forestry Commission, Antika Company Ltd, the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) as well as Municipal and District Assemblies as partners.
Katitetaah Maali Lanbuure (KAMALA) has a 15-member management board selected from the five zones in the implementation districts with Madam Ernestina Dagbee as the Chairperson.
Madam Dagbee was hopeful that the collaboration between women in the beneficiary districts and WIDO will eventually a multiplier effect in the local communities.
PERD for Poverty Alleviation in DBI
The District Agric Officer (Extension) for Diaffiama-Bussie-Issa, Abdallah Akurubila Mohammed who delivered on “How KAMALA Members can Benefit from the Current Government Agricultural Projects in Ghana” emphasized the need for people to take advantage of the Planting for Export and Rural Development ( PERD) to improve their economic status.
He said in DBI, Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) in 2019 produced and distributed over 100 thousand cashew seedlings to farmers under PERD with support from Modernizing Agriculture in Ghana (MAG).
Giving the breakdown for the communities where the seedlings where produced, Mr. Mohammed said Kojokperi nursed over 50 thousand seedlings of cashew whilst Daffiama and Bussie had around 40 thousand seedlings each.
He added that 1989 bags of fertilizer and close to 5000 seeds were also given to farmers in the District this year.
Mr. Mohammed underscored the necessity for members of KAMALA, especially the women to be equipped appropriately to pay their role well in the forestry and agric sub-sectors.
Winding up-Womens Economic Dexterity
It is estimated that 95% of those involved in agro-processing and 85% of those in food distribution in Ghana are women and a sizeable number of women are the economic live wires of their households.
It is through their sweat and economic dexterity that basic needs are supplied and school fees paid.
At the end of the 8-month CONRAT project, it is hoped that WIDOs facilitation will give KAMALA the requisite skills and renewed verve for members of the society, particularly, women to sustainably manage forests and farms whilst saying goodbye poverty.
By Emmanuel Mensah-Abludo