Women in agric need support to unlock full potential
Amanda Grevey, Senior Technical Advisor for Economic Growth at Palladium

Women in agric need support to unlock full potential

Various research in the country has shown that there are more women in the field of agriculture than men.

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Unfortunately, however, these women are often engaged in subsistence farming, which brings them virtually nothing aside from what they get to take care of their immediate and distant families. What they really get in the end is a token that they use for other things becouse its not really enough to plough back to expand their base in agriculture.

It is against this background and more that implementers of the Feed the Future Ghana are calling for the right support for women to enable them to discover their potential in the sector.

According to the Senior Technical Advisor for Economic Growth at Palladium, Amanda Grevey, such support should be in the form of exposure to knowledge and skills in technology, and investment to help unlock the full potential of women in the agriculture sector.

This is because agriculture is the lifeblood of the economy and one to which the country has a competitive advantage.

Investing in women is not just critical for economic development and food security but a good business that will help boost the economy.

At the 3rd Women in Agribusiness Summit in Accra on the theme: “Empowering Women in Agriculture through Enhanced Access to Finance,” Ms Grevey said: “Agricultural enterprises with greater women’s leadership and participation are more stable and less likely to default on their loans.

“There are huge, untapped opportunities for women in agribusiness – across production, agro-processing, marketing and distribution.” 

The summit, organised by USAID with support from Feed the Future Ghana Mobilising Finance in Agriculture Activity, was aimed at connecting agribusinesses that required investment to financial institutions and investors and transaction advisors who could facilitate access to financing on their behalf.

According to her, women were underserved when it came to accessing finance; hence, they faced challenges such as insufficient collateral for bank loans, unfamiliarity with bank products and services and understandable worry about managing financial obligations – barriers which often prevented them from applying for loans in the first place.

She said they operated in a financial system that was not designed to meet their unique needs and added that “on the supply-side, financial institutions have difficulty lending to the segments of the value chain where most women operate due to real and perceived risk, remote locations and high transaction costs associated with small loan sizes”.
 

Lending to women agribusinesses

USAID Mission Director, Kimberly Rosen, said the impact of lending on women agribusinesses was far-reaching as evidenced by the story of the Kusanaba Women’s Group led by Portia Asumda, who, with just a working capital loan of $4,251 facilitated by MFA, together with other groups totalling about 1,200 women of Kusanaba in the Upper East Region, was able to resume shea butter processing activities that had stalled following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The loan, she said, enabled the women to buy shea kernels, meet overdue orders and bounce back to business.

“The purchasing powers of these women were restored and they can meet the basic needs of their households and drastically improve their well-being,” she said.

Private sector support

The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Lariba Zuweira Abudu, said: “Women make up almost 50 per cent of our country’s population. We cannot make progress when half of the country is at a constant economic and social disadvantage.”

She said the government was poised to ensure that no one is left behind in its bid to promote gender equality, economic transformation and national development.

She explained that although the government had introduced various policies and programmes to create an enabling environment for agribusiness, it required the support of the private sector, particularly, financial institutions to join the government's efforts in supporting women in agribusiness with loans to purchase critical inputs such as improved seeds, fertiliser, technology and processing equipment.
could facilitate access to financing on their behalf.

According to her, women were underserved when it came to accessing finance; hence, they faced challenges such as insufficient collateral for bank loans, unfamiliarity with bank products and services and understandable worry about managing financial obligations – barriers which often prevented them from applying for loans in the first place.

She said they operated in a financial system that was not designed to meet their unique needs and added that “on the supply-side, financial institutions have difficulty lending to the segments of the value chain where most women operate due to real and perceived risk, remote locations and high transaction costs associated with small loan sizes”.

Lending to women agribusinesses

USAID Mission Director, Kimberly Rosen, said the impact of lending on women agribusinesses was far-reaching as evidenced by the story of the Kusanaba Women’s Group led by Portia Asumda, who, with just a working capital loan of $4,251 facilitated by MFA, together with other groups totalling about 1,200 women of Kusanaba in the Upper East Region, was able to resume shea butter processing activities that had stalled following the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The loan, she said, enabled the women to buy shea kernels, meet overdue orders and bounce back to business.

“The purchasing powers of these women were restored and they can meet the basic needs of their households and drastically improve their well-being,” she said.

Private sector support

The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Lariba Zuweira Abudu, said: “Women make up almost 50 per cent of our country’s population. We cannot make progress when half of the country is at a constant economic and social disadvantage.”

She said the government was poised to ensure that no one is left behind in its bid to promote gender equality, economic transformation and national development.

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She explained that although the government had introduced various policies and programmes to create an enabling environment for agribusiness, it required the support of the private sector, particularly, financial institutions to join the government's efforts in supporting women in agribusiness with loans to purchase critical inputs such as improved seeds, fertiliser, technology and processing equipment.

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