The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF-SGP) has commissioned the first Women-led Groundnut Processing Factory at Ayorya in the Kintampo South District in the Bono East Region of Ghana. The factory, which will process groundnut into oil and paste, is an addition to previous support that ensured a more productive groundnut farming for women farmers.
Speaking during the commissioning, the Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP Ghana, Silke Hollander indicated that the factory was a direct result of the strategic grant of US$34,100 (GHS180,000) provided by UNDP/GEF-SGP to support and expand innovative women-led nature-based business enterprises.
Ms Hollander commended the women for investing the grant to boost groundnut processing and expressed optimism that women entrepreneurs can make a difference in adding value to agricultural products to achieve a better and more sustainable future.
"Given the strategic importance of this investment by the women to job creation, food security and sustainable incomes, the women have demonstrated yet again that with the needed support, women can rise up and drive sustainable development through social entrepreneurship", she noted.
Ms Hollander further emphasized UNDP’s continuous commitment to supporting Ghana in empowering women with entrepreneurial skills through training, innovation, technology transfer, knowledge management, and access to financial resources to ensure that they are not left behind in the sustainable development agenda.
In a speech read on his behalf, the Bono East Regional Minister, Hon Kwesi Adu Gyan noted that the processing factory is in line with the region’s agricultural commercialization agenda which is anchored on mechanization and value addition. He therefore, commended UNDP for supporting the region’s development agenda.
‘’The successes choked by the women farmers through the support of UNDP/GEF-SGP and the Ministry of Food and Agricultural is an indication of what partnership can achieve. I am pledging the commitment of the regional coordinating council to deepen our partnership with UNDP to improve the lives of many more people’’, Hon Kwesi Adu Gyan added.
The President of the Ayorya Women Groundnut Producers Association, Madam Hannah Achiama underscored the significant role the UNDP/GEF-SGP support is playing in transforming their lives. She expressed gratitude for the continuous support which has now resulted in the establishment of the processing factory.
‘’For several years, our groundnut farming was faced with many challenges, but now, through the financial and technical support we get, we are now able to scale up and improve our yield. With this factory, we are hoping to begin exporting groundnut oil and paste to neighboring countries which will earn us a more sustainable income’’, she stated.
The women-led enterprises project is under a special initiative programme aimed at job creation for women, enhancing food security, promoting sustainable utilization of biodiversity products to meet international standards, and ensuring sustainable income flow to vulnerable women within the fragile ecosystems. Through the project, farmers are now engaged in climate smart organic agriculture by preparing and using compost instead of chemical fertilizers whilst growing high yielding short duration varieties to mitigate the effects of drought.
The groundnut processing factory will serve about 3000 farmers, mainly women within the Kintampo South District.