15.10.2004 Regional News

Gender and Agricultural Development Strategy launched

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Accra, Oct. 15, GNA - Professor Adzei Bekoe, Member of Council of State, on Friday said the needs and priorities of both men and women should be addressed for agricultural development to be successful. He said men and women had different skills and knowledge in the traditional agricultural sector, which when combined would create a knowledge system specific to the local conditions. "We need to understand men's and women's roles in the different types of rural production units. We must also examine the terms under which men and women cooperate with each other," Prof. Bekoe said this at the launch of Gender and Agricultural Development Strategy (GADS) in Accra.

The Document prepared with funding support from the British Department for International Development (DFID) and Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is to develop mainstream gender concerns into all planning and implementation of extension programmes during the National Agricultural Extension Project. It would also provide the framework that would assist in the promotion of sustainable agricultural development by ensuring gender equity and addressing the diverse needs of rural farmers, including the youth and physically challenged.

He said agricultural development programmes must be geared towards addressing the resources, needs, interests, concerns and priorities of men and women to achieve sustainability and food security.

"If we are able to provide both needs, production would be maximized. We need substantive change and the GADS Document provides the framework for achieving this major change to a more gender sensitive and more efficient agricultural development."

Major Courage Quashigah (rtd), Minister of Food and Agriculture, in a speech read for him, said roles and relationship between men and women which were determined by the socio-political and economical context, differed among societies, cultures and through time. "It is with this understanding that we advocate that the stereotype roles performed by men and women may have to change now to create the independence and harmonization between the sexes, which is the realities of the times."

He said to achieve this change required a conscious and sustained effort aimed at assessing the implications for women and men in any planned action.

Mrs Juliana Dennis, Acting Director of Women in Agricultural Development (WIAD), said the Document identified and addressed some key gender-related constraints in the agricultural sector, among which were inadequate extension service quality and coverage to farmers, especially women farmers, and inadequate access to financial services. The Document, therefore, recommends improved extension service delivery, especially to women, and improved institutional support for the youth and physically challenged working in the agricultural sector.

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