Portia Gban, Managing Director of Sumbo-Posh Farms, savouring the lushness of her soya beans crops
Portia Gban, Managing Director of Sumbo-Posh Farms, savouring the lushness of her soya beans crops

SAPIP empowers northern women

The transformative commercial farming sponsored by the Savannah Zone Agricultural Productivity Improvement Project (SAPIP) with financial support from the African Development Bank in the savanna zone of Ghana has economically empowered a lot of women and made most of them financially independent.

The programme has equally broken some socio-cultural barriers by facilitating access to land by women for farming, while stemming the tide of female migration to the southern part of Ghana to engage in head porting commonly referred to as “kayayei”.

SAPIP support

This was revealed when the Daily Graphic toured some commercial farms supported under SAPIP in the Upper West, Upper East, North-East, Northern, Savannah and Bono East regions and interacted with stakeholders.

In a tour of Sumbo-Posh Farms at Motigu in the Wa East District in the Upper West Region, the Managing Director, Portia Gban, said her 220 acres farm was used for the cultivation of soya beans. She said she started farming in 2019 with only 20 acres but sought and got the intervention of SAPIP in 2021.

She said the support from SAPIP in 2021 involved the clearing of 100 acres of land for cultivation, supply of inputs such as fertilizer, agro-chemicals and seeds. Ms Gban said the instant success she got from her farming activities in 2021 made her ask for more support in 2022 from SAPIP, which was granted in the form of development of additional 120 acres of land and increase in inputs supply.

The expansion of her farm, she noted, had helped her to employ 50 women in-growers and 1,200 female out-growers. The managing director said assistance given to women within her farm area had really helped to improve the lot of those women.

“You know, traditionally, access to land by women in this part of our country is very difficult and those who manage to acquire land have difficulty developing it due to lack of resources,” she stated. 

She said her company provided each of the 50 in-growers with two acres of land with the cost of development and inputs being borne by the company while the outgrowers were provided with mechanisation services and inputs.

Ms Gban said that form of support given to the women had stopped most of them and their female children from travelling to the south to do head porting as they now had a reliable source of generating income. 

She added that even some of the young ladies who had already travelled to the south for kayayei were returning home to engage in farming activities, describing the intervention by SAPIP as really transformational as she used to get four 50kg bags of soya per acre prior to their intervention but was now getting seven bags per acre of the same weight after their intervention.

The story of Farmer Pride, a 728-acre farm located at Duu in the Sissala East municipality in the Upper West is no different from that of Sumbo-Posh Farms. 

Women growers


The writer (right) interacting with Doho Sumaila (middle), Managing Director of Farmer Pride, on the premises of his farm, while a Programme Assistant of SAPIP looks on

The Managing Director, Doho Sumaila, said all in-growers and out-growers of his farm were females. 

He said he had 600 in-growers who he had provided 600 acre-land near the main farm and 2500 out-growers. 

Asked why he decided to engage only women on his farm, he said in the northern part of Ghana, most women worked twice as their male counterparts during the farming season but have nothing to call their own produce after harvesting. He said women went to the farm and labour their hearts out and still get up and carry heavy loads of firewood and go home and prepare food for the family. “Despite all these sacrifices, when the harvest is done, everything is in the name of the husband and most women do not have any control over it,” he noted.

To ameliorate the situation, he added that he decided to engage only women as out-growers so that they could work and own something for themselves. 

A beneficiary of his farm, Amina Aminu from Komo said the support by Farmer Pride had helped her to enrol her son in a College of education. She said she was able to make enough yield from her farming to feed her family and sell the rest to take care of her son in school.

Increased productivity

Mr Doho attributed the success of his farm and the current situation of the women growers to the intervention by SAPIP. 

He said before the intervention, he was cultivating only 100 acres of land with average yields of 18 bags of 50kg bags of maize per acre. 

“But after gaining support from SAPIP in 2021, I now get about 40bags of 50kg bags of maize per acre,” he stated. 

He said that the soya beans had also witnessed an increase of six bags of 50kg bags per acre before the intervention to 22 bags of 50kg bags per acre after the intervention. 

Mr Doho said the expansion of his farm coupled with the increase in yields made it possible for him to support more women and many of the beneficiary females were financing the education of their children especially the girls and this was helping to stem the tide of their migration to the south for menial jobs.

Managers of other farms including Kakulase Ltd located at Bidima and Nabori in the West Gonja District in the Savannah Region, Sky Investment Ltd locate at Kobeda No.2 near Kintampo in the Bono East Region and Idan Agro Ltd located at Sakpuli in the Savelugu Municipality have all indicated that they have seen a drastic improvement in their farming business after coming under SAPIP’s support.

“I can assure you that more than 70 per cent of my workforce are women and the income they earn from my farm is a major source of income that is alleviating poverty and transforming lives” said Mr Hamdu Mohamed, Farm Manager of Kakulase Ltd.  Adding their voices to the impact of their farming businesses on women, both the Managing Directors of Sky 3 Investment Ltd and Idan Agro Ltd, Mr Kwasi Etu-Bonde and Mr Isaac Papanko respectively, said their farms greatly facilitated access to land for women in addition to the employment opportunities they generated.

They therefore unanimously called for an extension of the project as it has a lot of stupendous benefits to vulnerable groups such as women and children within the Savannah zone.      

Email: [email protected]
The writer is a WASCAL scholar and PhD candidate in Climate Change and Education, University of The Gambia.

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