Methodist women groups empowered economically
Berekum (B/A), April 23, GNA – Right Reverend Kofi Asare Bediako, Methodist Bishop of Sunyani
Diocese has commended the initiative by women's groups in the diocese to help improve their financial status by preventing post-harvest losses of their produce.
Bishop Bediako was addressing the closing session of an eight-day workshop organised by the leadership of the diocesan women's groups, in collaboration with the Berekum office of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), to train the women's group from Seikwa in the Tain district of Brong Ahafo.
Members of the group were trained in value addition to their agricultural produce, especially mushrooms, which grow very well in the locality.
The workshop, under the topic “Training of women groups on value addition of agricultural produce” and held at Berekum, was attended by a representative each from the six societies of the Church's Seikwa circuit.
The societies are Kyekyewere, Bepoase, Tanokrom, Asuokor, Seikwa and Goka.
Bishop Bediako lauded the exhibits displayed by the participants and promised that his administration would do everything possible to support the extension of the training scheme to cover all the 18 circuits of the diocese.
The assistance, he said, would include helping them to market their produce to ginger them to work harder to increase production.
The Methodist priest noted that, although Ghana was an agricultural country, foodstuffs sometimes became scarce, with the few available ones sold at cut-throat prices.
He stressed that this problem was due to farmers' lack of knowledge about food preservation and facilities to meet changing weather conditions in the country.
“Preservation of food items is a problem in the country”, Bishop Bediako said, stressing that, it was proper and encouraging to commend the women's planning board of the Diocese for the training initiative, started with the women's group at Seikwa, to train them in how to preserve mushroom, which is grown in the area.
Very Rev. Peter Acheampong, Minister in charge of the Seikwa Circuit, emphasized the importance of the training, saying the programme would continue if the participants would endeavour “to make a difference in their society.”
He pledged his support in marketing their produce.
Mrs. Mary Boakye, chairperson of the Sunyani diocese and the leader of the five-member resource persons at the workshop noted that “empowering of women in the diocese is imperative since they form the majority of the population of the Church”.
Mrs. Boakye, a retired educationist and an agro-food processor, said the main aim of the training workshop was to increase the income levels of women for their sustainability and an improvement
in their livelihood.
“Wastage among women farmers in the diocese can be minimized to the barest minimum if women groups are sufficiently empowered”, she stressed.
The participants were educated on how to preserve mushrooms, garden eggs, okro, ginger, cabbage, “kontomire” and onions, by using 'table drying' and 'solar dryer' techniques as the two main methods.
Mrs Boakye said the trainees were also given the opportunity to observe some products she had already processed, which included cocoyam fufu powder, plantain fufu powder, powdered garden peas (Kwahu Nsusuaa), powdered okro, which were all prepared using the solar dryer.
The participants were also lectured on 'How to take notes during meetings', 'Healthy foods', 'Flower decoration/beautification', and 'Healthy foods', among others.
Ms. Adwoa Oforiwaa Antwi, a representative of the Women and Agricultural Development Sector of Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) in Berekum, said the Ministry had facilities to support small-scale entrepreneurs.
She urged the participants to apply the knowledge they had acquired at the workshop and also teach other farmers to benefit from it.