A study has found that farmer households in deprived areas with access to information infrastructure, have higher intake of nutritious diets, compared to those without access to such facilities.
It also observed that access to information infrastructure by farmer households in deprived areas also ensured women economic empowerment, compared to the reverse situation.
The study was conducted by the University for Development Studies (UDS), between December 2022 and January 2023, and was funded by the International Center for Evaluation and Development and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The study sought to examine the impact of information infrastructure (internet cafes, ICT centres and community radio stations), on households’ intake of nutritious diets, and women’s economic empowerment in the country.
It was also to estimate the effects of infrastructure support policy on access to information infrastructure, nutritious diets and women economic empowerment.
Data from the Ghana Living Standards Survey rounds six and seven including qualitative interviews were used for the study where 18 key informant experts in ICT infrastructure and nutrition, women economic empowerment from across the country, were also interviewed.
Dr Yazid Abdul Mumin, a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Agricultural Economics, UDS and Deputy Director of Academic Planning and Quality Assurance at UDS, presented the findings of the study at a validation workshop in Tamale.
He said information infrastructure played an important role in enhancing household access to nutritious diets and women economic empowerment in communities.
Dr Mumin said, “the evidence also speaks to the fact that households, who live in deprived areas, tend to benefit more because we saw that these households are able to catch up with their counterparts in urban areas in terms of access to nutritious diets and consumption, and on issues of women economic empowerment when they are exposed to the information infrastructure”.
He said with the empirical evidence, current investment by the government to modernise and expand information infrastructure at the national and rural levels was in the right direction and must be encouraged.
He explained that the information infrastructure was a way by which households and farmers got access to extension services because agricultural extension officers used platforms such as durbars and radio facilities, to disseminate information about best farming practices, sources of inputs and markets for their output.
So, the existence of this information infrastructure is a way of complementing the efforts of farmers and Ministry of Food and Agriculture in their quest to enhance food and nutrition security in the country, Dr Mumin said.