Over 10,000 Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in agriculture and renewable energy have been supported with financial and technical assistance to grow their businesses.
The number with 68% of them being women is to assist rural women in agribusiness to discover and exploit their potential to achieve balanced, fulfilling and dignified lifestyles.
The initiative by Rural Development Foundation ( RDF) Ghana LBG in collaboration with the Rural and Community Banks (RCBs) and Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) under the credit guarantees and technical assistance programmes aimed at enhancing sustainable rural development.
This came to light at the Maiden Agrowoman 360 event held in Tamale of the Northern Region.
AgroWoman 360 (AW360) is a comprehensive community-owned Technical Assistance (TA) programme that captures and promotes the aspirations of rural women involved in agribusiness.
The event in partnership with Sung Foundation (SUFOD), Baobab Microfinance and Presbyterian Agriculture Services (PAS) was dedicated to acknowledge the contribution of women in MSME in Rural Ghana. The beneficiary communities were Sagnerigu Municipality and District Assembly
It was also used to educate the beneficiaries of best farming practices and also the need to cultivate saving culture for their businesses.
It was also used to screen women against breast cancer with some awareness creation.
Speaking at the event, The Municipal Chief Executive of Sagnarigu Municipal Assembly, Mr. Mohammed Ahmed Yakubu commended RDF and SUFOD for empowering women in the rural communities to bring about change within their capacities and advance rural development.
According to him, women are crucial stakeholders in agribusiness value chain comprising 40%of the global agricultural workforce and therefore essential to planting, cultivating, and harvesting, as well as processing, logistics and sales.
"Despite their contributions, women face unique challenges that hamper their productivity and growth which in turn weakening rural economies," he noted.
He said, though women in agri-business harness the least resources to make the most of it, they still contributes about 70% of agricultural production in Ghana.
He urged the beneficiaries of the project to take advantage of the available opportunities to enhance their capabilities, build their capacities and access wide range of offers in promoting their livelihoods and building more resilient systems for human development and environmental sustainability.
Programmes Manager at Presbyterian Agricultural Services Mr. Moses Neindow encouraged the women farmers to adopt good agronomic practices to maximum yields for their productions.
Project Coordinator at SUFOD Hajia Adam Shafawu also encouraged the women to form groups in order to access loans and other support for their businesses.
Executive Director RDF-Ghana Mr. Yaw Oppong said, through AgroWoman 360, RDF hopes to garner support from the local communities and authorities, the Government of Ghana and development partners to drive the holistic development of women in MSME level agribusiness.
This year, based on community engagement, we are focused on four critical areas of our women’s development, namely Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), financial literacy, health and climate-smart agricultural practices he said.
He noted that regular monitoring visits to beneficiaries of the products revealed that there was a need to intensify financial literacy education among rural women to maximize the efforts they invest in their daily agribusinesses hence the programme.
"In line with the sustainable development goals, RDF Ghana has been working for the sustenance of Ghana’s agricultural sector to support the viability of agri-food systems and that Agribusiness workers, especially, women, have proven that agriculture has the potential to lift Ghana into economic prosperity," he said.