DIALOGUE ON SOCIO-CULTURAL BARRIERS AGAINST WOMEN FARMERS HELD AT NJAU
A dialogue to enhance awareness of communities on norms, socio-cultural behaviour and practices preventing women farmers from accessing knowledge regarding modern agricultural best practices has been held at Njau, Tain District of Bono Region.
Some of the socio-cultural barriers like exclusion of women from land access and ownership hindered gender equitable access to agricultural advisory services and prevented communities from fully benefiting from improved agricultural productivity.
The Bono Regional Directorate of Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Accra-based Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International organized the one-day event on the theme “Bridging Gender Gaps in Agricultural Advisory Services for Increased Productivity and Better Livelihoods.”
Funded by CABI, the programme formed part of the Gender in Agriculture and Rural Advisory Services in Ghana Multi-stakeholder forum for dialogue and advocacy series of ten community-level multistakeholder durbars in the Tain and Banda Districts of the Bono Region.
Regional Director of MoFA, Mr. Dennis Amenga Abugri, emphasised the importance of women farmers in economic growth, food security, poverty reduction and community development.
Mr. Amenga however, indicated women farmers faced numerous challenges that impeded their productivity and access to agricultural advisory services.
He added besides the existing hardships in accessing production resources, women farmers also faced socio-cultural norms that limited their access to critical rural agricultural services.
Mr. Amenga thus stated the durbars sought to raise awareness about the importance of women contribution to agricultural development, address social barriers that affected women access to extension services, challenge societal perceptions about women involvement in agriculture and recognise women as legitimate contributors to and bene¦ciaries of agricultural services.
Ms. Birgitta Oppong-Mensah, a Scientist-Agricultural Advisory Services at CABI emphasised the importance of starting a discussion about those barriers to create more opportunities for women to access extension services.
Ms. Oppong-Mensah announced research conducted in 2021 in some selected regions revealed that gender roles and limited access to audio-visual materials hindered women participation in agricultural trainings.
Other hindrances she mentioned were issues of power and decision-making, explaining the women felt their voices were not heard because they had no access to power and other necessary resources as well as land access and ownership.
In a related interview, Madam Adwoa Fula, a member of the Power Women Farmer Group appealed to traditional leaders to find ways to enable farmers to cultivate throughout the week, as cultural practices and norms that prohibited farming on certain week days reduced productivity.