The Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI) has stressed the need for government to extend agriculture extension services to female smallholder farmers across the country.
In its Gender and Rural Advisory Services Assessment in Ghana study, the CABI also urged stakeholders in the agriculture extension services to create an enabling environment for female farmers to access extension advisory services by raising awareness among community leaders and men of the benefits such services had for the whole household.
It said female farmers had limited access to extension advisory support including plant health services due to various challenges such as low levels of financial resources.
That, it said, had contributed to the gender gap in agriculture productivity in the country, which if closed, could help boost agriculture production and help improve the welfare of rural households.
It said in the last five years, the CABI had been implementing the Plantwise programme which aimed to enhance the knowledge and uptake of climate-smart plant health practices through responsive digital advisory tools in Ghana.
At a validation workshop in Accra on March 1, 2022 the Gender Specialist for the CABI, Ms Bethel Terefe, said that would be achieved by equipping agricultural advisory service providers with decision making tools to offer advice to farmers in a way that ensured that both men and women farmers were able to equitably access and benefit from such services.
To that end, she said the study was conducted to understand what worked in designing and delivering gender sensitive extension advisory services in Ghana and to shed light on areas where improvement was required in existing services in order to increase their gender sensitivity.
The workshop brought together stakeholders in the agricultural sector and academia to discuss the findings and recommendations of the assessment as well as future actions that could be taken to strengthen gender sensitive delivery of agricultural advisory services.
The Regional Representative of CABI West African Centre (WAC), Dr Victor Clottey, said the objective of the assessment was to improve agriculture advisory services at the rural level as far as gender issues were concerned.
He said the study which was conducted in August 2021 was executed in three districts in three regions, with different socio-cultural characteristics selected: Komenda, Edina, Eguafo and Abirem districts in the Central Region, Sunyani West District in the Bono Region and Yendi District in the Northern Region.
He said the study was to highlight ways in which organisations could improve the design and delivery of agricultural advisory services, particularly at the rural level for women to benefit more.
“We noticed that although there have been some slight improvements, women are often at a disadvantage when it comes to technology transfer concerning agricultural advisory services, knowledge and information around agricultural development,” he said.