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Africa must prioritise support for female, youth farmers

BY: Elizabeth Nyaadu Adu
Nana Osei Bonsu — President, PEF

The President of the Private Enterprise Federation (PEF), Nana Osei Bonsu, has prevailed on governments to consciously roll out policies that can directly benefit women and youth in agriculture.

The policies, he said, when implemented would close the gap to create more sustainable and inclusive participation of women, especially those in agriculture.

“As a continent, stakeholders will have to prioritise support for female and youth farmers through affirmative policies,” he said.

Nana Osei Bonsu made the call in a speech read on behalf of the Chairperson of the Pan African Agribusiness Apex Chamber (PAAAC) in African Union in Addis Ababa, Janet Edeme.

He was speaking at the Women in Agribusiness Forum organised by Guzakuza on the theme: “Revitalising partnership for Sustainable Agribusiness Development.”

The event brought together policy makers, farmers, entrepreneurs and experts in the agricultural sector to share insights into how to make agriculture most vital for Africa.

Engine of growth

Nana Osei Bonsu said agriculture was considered an important engine of growth and poverty reduction across Africa adding that “in developing countries such as Ghana, women make approximately 40 per cent of the agricultural labour force and up to 50 per cent in different countries.

“Raising total agricultural output in developing countries by 2.5 to four per cent would reduce the number of hungry people in the world by between 12 and 17 per cent,” Nana Osei Bonsu said.

Agricultural transformation

In a speech read on his behalf, the Minister of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, commended Guzakuza for supporting African women to build resilient agribusinesses in the past years through coaching and mentorship.

“The ministry applauds the complementary efforts of Guzakuza for focusing on innovation and business dimension of agriculture for actors, especially women, to make real economic gains,” he said.

He said agriculture was the key contributor to the economy, offering employment opportunities to many; providing foods and raw materials for industry; triggering numerous agri-related services and above all promoting relative peace where many had access to food.

He said the ministry, as a government agency, would continue to create the enabling environment as well as the required regulatory measures to stimulate sector growth.

“The food systems approach to incorporate key segments of agriculture and its related areas is firmly on the radar.

“Our collaboration with research will be strengthened to provide choice seed for planting material and breeds to meet the needs of end users including consumers who in recent times demand convenience and healthy products,” Dr Akoto said.