The Ghana Federation of Forest and Farm Producers (GhaFFaP) has said there is the need to place more emphasis on the needs of women in agriculture to encourage and empower them in their farming activities.
The GhaFFaP is a national consortium of Forest and Farm Producers Organizations (FFOP) drawn from three ecological zones of Ghana, the Savannah, Transition, and the Forest ecological zones.
Mr Philip Ayamba, the Programmes Coordinator for ZAL-TAABA Organic Farmers Association (ZOFA), a leading member of the FFOP, speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency at Bawku after an engagement with women farmers, said women are the major source of agriculture produce in the country and there is the need to grant them access to land, farm inputs and other farming materials to enable them increase production.
He said women were a proactive and productive force in the farming business and allowing them to access land for farming would bring massive improvement in the agricultural sector.
Mr Ayamba called on stakeholders in agriculture such as the traditional authorities, family heads, husbands and the government to allow women gain access to free land for farming in order to increase the production of food.
These measures could also help in sustaining the new livelihood empowerment policies such as 'Planting for Food and Jobs' and the 'Planting for Export and Rural Development' (PERD) that would create ready market for Agriculture products, he said.
Other difficulties women in agriculture encounter, he said, include: "the lack of financial support from state institutions such as MASLOC and difficulties in accessing loans from the banks to expand their farms and businesses; and where land is limited, some women rent land during the farming period for production- these amongst others hinder the development of women in farming".
Mr Ayamba said to improve women's effective participation in agriculture, the land given to women by husbands and relatives must not be too far from home to enable them perform other house chores and those who lose their husbands be allowed to keep the family farm lands.
He said the major challenges of agriculture in the northern zone are storage and markets and expressed the hope that PERD and the 'One District One Warehouse' policies would solve the problems.