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08.02.2005 Regional News

Women in agric-related businesses urged to use micro-credit facilities

By GNA

Sokode-Gbogame (V/R), Feb. 8, GNA - Women in agriculture and related ventures have been urged to use existing micro-credit facilities to modernise their traditional methods of production for increased production.

Mr Julius Ametefe, Volta Regional Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), made the call at a Poverty Reduction Stakeholders workshop at Sokode-Gborgame for 30 women drawn from the parishes of the Ho Diocese of the Catholic Church on Monday.

He said verifiable findings indicated that 60 per cent of all agricultural produce in Ghana was from women who are also the main focus of various credits under the Poverty Reduction Programmes.

Mr Ametefe observed that poverty reduction in Ghana would be highly successful "if the load of women in food processing and marketing results in the improvement of their financial circumstances".

He said under the Food and Agriculture Project, funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), an individual or groups of women in agriculture-related businesses could be eligible for credit up to 120 million cedis on concessionary terms through Rural Banks, by showing evidence of commitment.

"If you process cassava into gari, at least you should show your business site with working paraphernalia to show readiness to be considered," he stated.

He said about 1.6 billion cedis was disbursed last year under the scheme in the Volta Region and urged women to build confidence in themselves to enable them undertake business ventures.

Mr Ametefe said a Community-based Rural Development Programme being handled by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) was also available to women to benefit from.

He advised them to venture out of the orthodox product lines and go into the production of cassava chips used for flour and in the plywood and textile industries.

The three-day workshop was organised by the Women and Development Office of the Ho Catholic Diocese with sponsorship from MISEREOR-Germany.

Participants are to serve as trainers of trainers for a three-year poverty reduction programme for rural women in the diocese.

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