In the heart of Togo and across the diverse landscapes of Ghana, a transformative movement is underway, one that seeks to empower women in agriculture and bridge the pervasive gender gap that has hampered growth for far too long. Agriculture, as a life-sustaining sector, has the power to uplift entire communities and nations. However, true progress can only be achieved when all hands, regardless of gender, join forces in a united endeavor. This is the clarion call that echoes through the fields and communities of these African nations, as a multi-stakeholder approach emerges as the beacon of change.
An Unsettling Gender Disparity
In the world of agriculture, women have always played an integral role. They are the backbone of food production, laboring diligently to ensure food security and nutrition for their families and communities. However, the statistics reveal a sobering reality – women farmers are often discriminated against, facing barriers in accessing advisory services, land, financial resources, and more. These challenges have not only hindered their progress but have also contributed to a significant gender gap in agricultural productivity.
Barriers Rooted in Tradition
In many societies, cultural norms have perpetuated the gender divide in agriculture. Women’s access to land and productive resources is limited, often occurring through male relatives. These deeply entrenched stereotypes have led to a marked bias against women’s ownership and control over essential assets.
The Toll on Agricultural Productivity
This discrimination exacts a steep toll on agricultural productivity in developing countries. Studies have revealed that farms managed by women are 20-30 percent less productive than those managed by men. The gender gap touches every aspect of agricultural life, from access to credit and financial services to technology adoption and land ownership.
A Cry for Change
In Ghana, the impact of gender inequality is far-reaching, leading to discrimination, social injustice, economic disparity, and inefficient democracies. The consequences are felt across all facets of life, from education and health to economic security and political representation. For too long, women, girls, and the vulnerable have borne the brunt of these consequences.
A Unified Front for Progress
Recognizing the urgent need for change, a multi-stakeholder approach has emerged as the path forward. Government institutions, civil society organizations, development partners, and the active participation of women themselves are all part of the solution.
Empowering Women in Agriculture
Several commendable efforts are underway to bridge the gender gap in agriculture. The Women in Agriculture Department (WIAD) in Ghana, for instance, has implemented initiatives to support women farmers. Success stories abound, from equipment support for women farmer-based organizations to training in tractor operation and maintenance.
Policy Reforms and Structural Changes
While significant progress has been made, there are still challenges to overcome. Policy reforms and structural changes have been initiated to ensure gender sensitivity in all agriculture activities. However, access to various production resources, particularly land, remains a pressing issue.
A Sustained Commitment
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture is unwavering in its commitment to prioritize the role of women in agriculture development. They recognize the urgent need to utilize women’s full human resource capabilities and are determined to leave no one behind in the pursuit of agricultural progress.
A Unified Vision
The journey to gender equality in agriculture requires a unified vision and unwavering commitment from all stakeholders. The recently launched Multi-stakeholder Forum for Dialogue on Gender in Rural Advisory Services (GRAS) is a significant step forward. This initiative, facilitated by the CABI PlantwisePlus program, seeks to ensure equitable access to agricultural advisory services for both men and women farmers.
Equitable Access for All
As part of this initiative, numerous activities are being undertaken, from gender capacity-building training to advocacy for improved gender policy implementation. The goal is to shift social norms and dismantle barriers that have prevented women from accessing essential services.
A Call to Action
Achieving gender equality in the agricultural sector is not just a goal; it’s an imperative. It requires collective action, determination, and a firm commitment to empower women, uplift communities, and transform nations. The message is clear: In this journey toward gender equality, every voice, every hand, and every heart matters.
A United Front for a Brighter Future
In the fields of Togo and the communities of Ghana, there’s a palpable sense of change in the air. The gender gap in agriculture is slowly but surely closing, and as it does, the future of these nations grows brighter. A future where women and men stand shoulder to shoulder in their shared pursuit of a thriving agricultural sector, improved livelihoods, and a world where gender is no barrier to success.
The original article was written by Christian Akorlie