Forikrom (BE/R) Oct. 15, GNA- Women form anout 50 to 70 percent of small scale farming across the country and this is due to their commitment to accepting farming as the only livelihood empowerment venture that could empower them and improve livelihood conditions among other things.
Women, as the saying goes are ‘bread winners of every home’ has over the years contributed to successful farming through the cultivating of locally seeds and producing of indigenous foods which has over years served as the only delicacy for families and identy for many communities.
With Ghana being considered as a developing country with much rural dwellings, most of the people who do farming activities such as the traditional ways of farm preparation, sewing, cultivating and harvesting were women and indeed this has however prompt the need for stakeholders including government and partners in women development to celebrate them.
This as part of the activitities to celebrate Worlds Food Day, the Center for Indigenous Knowledge and Organizational Development (CIKOD) in collaboration with the Abrono Organic Farmers Programme (ABOFAP) has acknowledged the contribution of women farmers in the production of food and has celebtated women farmers in the Techiman Traditional area of the Bono East Region at the weekend.
The days’ activity was marked under the theme: ‘Celebrating Women farmers, Indigenous Seeds and Local Food for community relience in the post Covid-19 era’.
Mr Benard Guri Executive Director for CIKOD noted that women form the majority of the 70 percent small family farmers producing, processing, storing and marketing the foods crops that feed us.
Mr Guri explained that seeds are basis of all food production and that even with good soil, rains and the best of crop management, one would not be able to produce food without seeds, he futher explained that seeds were not just to feed us but also produces medicines and determines the type of food one eats as they form the symbol of the future and very important for the spiritual welbeing.
He mentioned that apart of food serving as source of energy, it also serve as the cultural identy of the particular group of people.
Mr Guri raised concerns over the new Ghana seed law and called on Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to oppose it as it would not augur well for the development of local and indigenous seeds.He expalained that the new law was introduced after Ghana joined the International Convention for the protection of the New varieties (UPOV91) and this is stringent and restrictive.
Mr Guri pointed out that the untimate beneficiaries of the new law were not the poor rural women farmers, poor malnourished children and the economy but for the corporate seed companies in Europe and America and their comprador formal seed breeders in Ghana.
He called on stakeholders including the international media to come to the aid of the poor farmer by appealing to the government of Ghana to disengage from the UPOV91 system and adopt the Sui Generis system since it was more flexible system and allows each country to craft their seed law to suit the culture and interest of the people
He underscored the need to divert government subsidies for formal seed system to supporting work by local researchers and indigenous seed knowledge holders to produce improved local seeds.
Nana Kwaw Adams Twafohene of Forikrom in the Benkum Division of the Techiman Traditional Area and the Executive Director for ABOFAP mentioned that his outfit has over the years engage women and training them in the cultivation of indigenous seeds as they comprises natural food nutrients for development of human health.
Nana Adams indicated that due to cultivating indigenous seeds and producing foods, its efficacy has contributed to boosting the human immune system of humans and has contributing to reducing the spread of the corona virus in the area.
He disclosed that apart from the five identified seeds intriduced by the Ministry of Agriculture, there were over 20 types of indigenous seeds that were been cultivated by farmers and these include the banbara beans,groundnuts,okro, kidney beans and the bird chillies.
Madam Priscilla Obeng-Boateng Extension ofiicer at the Techiman Municipal Department of Agriculture commended women for their immensed contribution towards promoting indigenous seed production through farming.
Madam Obeng-Boateng said indigenous seeds were climate change resilient and could resist the threat of many farm diseases, however there was the need for farmers to continue cultivating them for quality food production, she assured the commitment of the department to continue to render agricultural extension services to the farmers to promote good yelds in their farms.
She commended women farmers for their contribution in promoting food security and driving away poverty and disease which has been the major enemy of the people.
Professor David Ludwig, professor of science at the Wageningen University in the Netherlands lauded the initiative by women farmers to cultivates indigenous crops belonging to their environment and that this would encourage them cultivate more of the kind.
He said the farmers don’t necessary need scientific improved seeds from outside the community or country since they already have knowledge about the those they were cultivating, stating that with these idea farmers would be able to manage the health of the crops during maturity stage.
The programme was observed with exhibition of locally seeds and foods such as Pito, Palmwine, Zunkum,Tubaani,Soobolo, koose, Fufuo and Moringa leaves, the rest include Adion tree, Turmeric, Peamist, Nnuhuu and Akurangye and Okro.