As women play an important part in agricultural production, their empowerment will impact the agricultural markets overall. As such, many development organizations have begun to integrate gender into their agricultural development projects.
Mrs Stella Saaka is a mother of one who hails from Savannah Region in Ghana, a certified instructor from National Vocational Training Institute, a founder of Women in Agriculture Platform (WAP) an organization that advocate and empower women in agriculture.
In an interview session with African Development Magazine on Thursday August 15, 2019 , Mrs Stella discussed how she has contributed positively to women in agriculture through her organization which was founded 18yrs ago and how the Northern Ghana government partners in 2017 in collaboration with the USAID.
Based on evidence of projects aiming to empower women farmers in our organization, we train women at different points in the agricultural production system and at different levels of integration into the market economy, promote the establishment of women farmers’ groups as sources of social and economic empowerment; provide training to women that are accessible in terms of location, instructor and time commitment; provide loans to ensure women financial inclusion, also work with local businesses, governments, and community structures to implement the project.
“Through advocacy I have been able to get the stakeholders and chiefs together to appeal to them the need to allocate lands for women farmers through dialogue and negotiations. I have been able to access 33 acres of lands. The women use the lands for farming to earn their daily bread… Now the MP for the community has donated a tractor to the women for farming because it was a challenge but now solved. She said.
She stressed that if women had access to finance, land, technology and training advice as men , they would produce the bulk of food for domestic consumption because they are the drivers of food processing, marketing and preservation. women have good thoughts and planning compare to men, they can manage resources and materials for good yield, they also needed credit facilities because funding has been the problem..
Although, USAID helps in giving grants while the ministry of agriculture assisted us in terms of agro-chemical, fertilizers and seeds and 100 persons have been trained, in the area of crop production and processing.
Mrs Stella also said she was extremely excited with the impressive recorded success stories of her organization over the years .
I started with 55women and now have about 1,170 women and putting smiles on their faces because they owned lands of their own for farming . I also take the youth on skills training such as sweet potato drink and cake making to be financially equip
Though , there are many challenges faced while starting up but God has been faithful because we were able to overcome them, some of the challenges were that of women who lost their husbands,lost their farms because they don’t see why a woman should farm, when I stepped in, other women thought I was joking until the chiefs gave their consent and I won the hearts of the chiefs ,stakeholders and the women that believes in working together. She said
Mrs Saaka eulogized media organizations for recognition, promotion and contribution towards her success for the women led agric project.
‘’I had a good relationship with journalists and other media houses, their contributions gave me a recognition and an award which I won in March 2019 tagged ‘women of courage Ghana’ by the US embassy.The feeling was great because my dream of recognition came to pass. She said
The agric instructor said there are unlimited opportunities in the agricultural sector and a good business ideas for Aspiring Entrepreneurs in Africa
“To be able to build entrepreneurship in Africa we need to work more,get partnership from other countries and stakeholders to understand our views and not relying on only government.
Market survey must be done , farming is a business that should be considered and right crops and fertilizers should also be checked as well as fertile lands for a good yield. The aspiring entrepreneur must have the idea on what he/she can do profitably such as crop farming, rearing of animals and processing. This can reduce unemployment if the youth consider it as business. She concluded.