By D.I. Laary and Alimatu Quaye, GNA
Accra, April 14, GNA – A United States Agency for International Development initiative, Africa Lead II, has facilitated the formation of women network to venture into agribusiness and help accelerate agricultural growth, raise income and fight poverty.
The Women in Agribusiness Network Ghana (WIANG) under the management of a nine-member leadership, has been launched attracting applause from local and international partners.
The network is expected to establish a national resource platform to promote and assist women develop their agribusinesses, document and share knowledge of best practices.
Ms Carla Denizard, Regional Director of West and Central Africa Lead II, urged women to see agriculture as a business and adopt the necessary modern technology to boost productivity and efficiency.
She underpinned the role women as shakers and movers of the agricultural sector in raising output and as a means to improve livelihood, reduce hunger, poverty and enhance nutrition.
Ms Denizard noted that women play pivotal role in farming activities despite many challenges facing them but, said they could make agricultural institutions stronger to accelerate growth and development through networking and innovative programmes.
She assured the women body that the Africa Lead II as capacity building initiative would continue work to boost Africa’s agriculture hierarchy to develop, manage, and lead their own programmes in the sector.
Ms Susan Bonney, Programme Coordination specialist, USAID Ghana, said women cover significant portion of the Agricultural labour force in the country, and therefore, play vital role in advancing agriculture development and food security.
Women in agriculture face myriad of constraints in land ownership, access and inheritance, limited access to agricultural education and technology as well as credit and financial services, she said.
She quoted the World Bank as saying if women farmers have the same access to fertilizer and other farming inputs as men, maize yields in Ghana would increase by almost 16 percent.
However, Ms Bonney noted that women are highly disadvantaged in the sector they dominate than their men counterparts.
WIANG seeks to support women through capacity building initiatives and offer mentorship to female youth in agribusiness entrepreneurship, advocate and lobby for inclusive gender balanced policies.
It would also give women the platform to build communities ability to learn, lead, and inspire women and the youth in agribusiness to accelerate and enhance sustainable inclusive agricultural growth, transformation and food security in Ghana through networking, mentoring, coaching, business advisory services, knowledge sharing, and marketing and business linkages.
The Africa Lead programme serves as USAID’s primary capacity building programme in sub Saharan Africa.
It works to help realise the Feed the Future goal of reducing hunger and poverty by building the capacity of African agricultural professionals, institutions and stakeholders to develop, lead and manage the structures needed for the transformation process.
The work is done within the framework of the New Economic Partnership for African Development’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme that requires countries to allocate 10 per cent of their annual budgets to agriculture to raise production.