Ghana validates Country Gender Assessment Report in Agriculture and Rural Sectors

UNCT-GH-FAO-Gender-Agriculture-2016Participants at validation workshop

19 December 2016, Accra, Ghana

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation (FAO) and the Government of Ghana have validated Ghana’s gender assessment report in the agriculture and rural sectors.

According to the report, the persistent gender inequalities in the agriculture and rural sectors of Ghana if not consciously addressed will make the attainment of the SDGs an impossible task.

The major actors, Ministries of Food and Agriculture and Gender and Social Protection and the FAO made this known at a workshop jointly organised to validate the Country Gender Assessment report which seeks to help countries address the gaps in formulation of country programs.

This forms part of an effort to build on the collaboration between ECOWAS member countries and the Food and Agriculture Organization, which a Technical Cooperation Project has been developed on Gender Responsive National and Regional Agriculture Investment Plans for Meeting the Zero Hunger Challenge in ECOWAS Member state.

The agriculture and rural sectors in Ghana contribute significantly towards the livelihoods of the population and to the country’s economic growth and development. The agricultural sector is the largest employer and provides jobs for the majority of men and women.   

The Acting Director of the Women in Agriculture Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ms. Paulina Suzanna Addy observed that women have supported agricultural development overtime and their contributions need to be recognized to optimize food production and also to enable them continue to provide food to nourish their families.

Ms Addy said, Agricultural productivity depends on the input from various actors along the value chain and these include women who play diverse roles. When studies of this nature are conducted, they provide very useful information which helps with planning and review of agricultural programmes to support targeted interventions and this study brings on board dimensions to complement others which have earlier been done such as the Baseline Study for the Gender and Agricultural Development Strategy.

This is critical as 92% of women make up the labour force in the informal sector.  Women continue to bear the responsibility for the welfare of families, particularly the provision of health, education, food and nutrition to children. There have been improvements in food security and nutrition over the years. However, the interventions implemented over time have not produced equal results across the country. There are still children and other vulnerable populations within some communities that face serious malnutrition and hunger due to food insecurity. 

In 2015 the Gender and Agricultural Development Strategy was revised with aim to supporting the gender mainstreaming processes to ensure that the needs and goals of women and men are met across the country. 

“Any transformation agenda in the agriculture sectors will not be able to achieve desired results if it continues to fail to address the gender gaps”. Said the FAO Representative to Ghana Dr Abebe Haile Gabriel.

Dr Abebe said that the evident gender-based disparities in terms of access to resources and services, in influencing decision making, and in taking up economic opportunities, need to be addressed through deliberate policies and p

The agricultural policy goal for Ghana is to promote sustainable agriculture and thriving agribusiness to farmers, processors and traders for improved livelihoods. There are several gender indicators that are used to monitor progress such as Gender Inequality Index, and Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index.  These indicators provide support to improve gender sensitive results to ensure accountability for gender equality within and across sectors. 

The Government of Ghana recognizes the tremendous contributions men and women in the agricultural sector have made over the years and it has developed and implemented projects and programmes to address the needs of men and women farmers, particularly rural women to ensure gender equity. Additionally, these contributions are a solid effort in the continuation of reaching the Sustainable Development Goals in Ghana.  One of the main key initiatives was establishing a Directorate for the Women in Agricultural Development to promote gender inclusiveness in all the programmes, projects and decision making at all levels. 

Capacity building and sustainability is extremely important in order to reduce the gender disparities we see across the different sectors, and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has the responsibility of coordinating programmes and forging partnerships to ensure that gender issues are effectively integrated. But more importantly, facilitate the integration of gender equality and empowerment issues into the work of the Ministry. To this end, the partnership with FAO has helped to identify information on rural women’s needs, difficulties and priorities, as well as explore the situation of rural women compared to men in order to understand gender inequalities in agriculture and the possible causes and impact on food and nutrition security.