The Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), has underlined the participation of more women in Agriculture as key to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Mr. Fritz Kwami-Adala, District Officer of CHED at Antoakrom in Ashanti, said the government and other relevant stakeholders needed to invest in that regard to harness women’s potential for higher productivity, returns and the sustainability of their farming businesses.
This, he said could in turn yield outcomes such as food security, good nutrition, enhanced family livelihoods as well as community development.
“Women are also key players in generating incomes, facilitating changes in their family lives and improving rural livelihoods and overall well-being of the communities in which they live,” he added.
Mr. Kwami-Adala was speaking at a farmers’ forum at Antoakom arranged by the Antoakrom District Office of CHED and held under the theme “Sensitization on environment, child labour and gender issues”.
It brought together over 1,200 cocoa farmers from 820 communities within six COCOBOD administrative Districts namely; Amansie West, Amansie South, Amansie Central, Bekwai Municipality, Atwima-Mponua and the Atwima Kwanwoma.
The event was aimed at addressing the concerns and challenges of cocoa farmers in the area.
The occasion was also used to brainstorm on how women in the cocoa production value chain, could be empowered to venture into additional livelihood programmes and businesses such as soap making and gari processing, among others.
Madam Akua Serwaah, the General Secretary of the Antoakrom District Women Cocoa Farmers Association, commended CHED for forming the group and said they can boast of a current membership of 743 in 20 communities.
The communities are; Behenease, Ntinakoh, Huntado, Twapease, Afransie, Antoakrom among other communities, which caters for the welfare and livelihood development of women in cocoa farming in the area.
She said the group since its establishment in October, last year have through its monthly meetings received training in good agronomic practices, financial and business management as well as income generation pogrammes such as soap making, gari processing, and how to nurse seedlings.
Mr. Ebenezer Agyen, the Deputy Ashanti Regional Manager of CHED, commended the women’s group and urged them to stay in the group to enable them benefit from training packages and access incentive packages from the government.
Mr. Niikoi Rahim Kotey, a Senior Technical Officer of the Antoakrom CHED office, urged the farmers to participate in the environmental and social sustainability projects of the Division.
“This focused on enhancing environmentally-friendly cocoa production practices such as shade management, biological pesticide control, nutrient and soil moisture availability management, among others,” he said.
Nana Afia Tayiaw, the District Queen Farmer, commended the government and CHED for the forum and their contributions to the development of women in agriculture especially in cocoa production, which was a guarantee to sustaining the cocoa business locally and globally.