Gender is an important dimension of poverty in Ghana where over 51% of the population are women with a gender inequality index value of 0.59 as at 2011. Discussions on job creation options in agriculture for the youth thus need a gender-sensitive approach so no one is marginalised and the expected impact is realised.
During recent focus group discussions (FGD) conducted for representatives of youth groups in northern and southern Ghana under the theme: Integrating Gender Perspectives in Youth in Agriculture, a representative of Abibiman Foundation and Africa Youth Initiative on Climate Change, highlighted the need for a comprehensive and integrated approach to addressing gender constraints. According to them this involves rooting it in the fundamentals such as in a youth in agriculture strategic plan. According to a representative of Guza Kuza, a women agripreneur advocacy organisation, there is compelling evidence to show that relative to their male counterparts, young women farmers face significant constraints that undermine their capacity to effectively engage in productive activities. These constraints run the gamut from unequal access to land, credit, inputs, technologies, extension services to relevant agricultural information farmers need to make critical market decisions.
The workshops were organised by Syecomp Ghana Ltd as part of activities under a grant activity: Improving Approaches to Mainstreaming Gender in Ghana’s Youth Policy and Youth in Agriculture Programme: Focus on Climate-Smart Agriculture and Market-Oriented Value Chains; and sponsored by the USAID|Ghana Feed the Future Agriculture Policy Support Project, which is being implemented by Chemonics International Inc. (USA).
A representative from Nawubil Ghana Ltd shared the need for decision/policy-makers and the private sector to develop interventions in overcoming gender barriers and promoting gender equality in Ghana’s agricultural agriculture to make it attractive to young men and women. A representative from Elirit Farms was of the view that young women are typically not a focus of agricultural or vocational programming in either recruitment or design of major development programs. However, he indicated that youth focus tended to have a better balance between the sexes. The outlook of the representative from Agrihub Ghana was that there is crucial need for gender competencies to integrate, monitor and assess gender effectiveness in the country’s programs and projects at all levels.
From the above, it is important for gender to be considered especially when issues on youth mainstreaming is tabled for deliberations. This will help inform a more comprehensive youth in Agriculture policy re-orientation and focus.
Participants articulated the need for greater gender emphasis in all youth targeted initiatives especially in agriculture to reduce pervasive poverty and increase person’s incomes and livelihoods. It was generally acknowledged that empowering and investing in women has been shown to significantly increase productivity, reduce hunger and malnutrition and improve livelihoods for everyone. Discrimination and lack of recognition of women within the agrifood system should not be tolerated and appropriate mechanisms should be put in place to increase women’s participation in decision-making, building confidence, leadership and security.
This is the 5th in a 12-series blog articles to espouse the context of the Position Paper on effectively mainstreaming Youth in Agriculture in Ghana which is under development with support from USAID/Agricultural Policy Support Project (USAID/APSP).
Author: Syecomp Ghana Ltd
Email the author: Projects@syecomp.com
The author’s views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Agency for International Development or the United States Government.