By: agrighanaonline.com/Source: Ghana Television
For many years, women especially those in the northern parts of Ghana have taken to farming as their source of livelihood. This has not only contributed to the reduction in poverty and hunger among them, but has also served as a check on the influx of girls and women from the north to the south in search of non existing jobs. In spite of the significant contribution of these women farmers to the local economy, they are confronted with serious challenges which hamper their efforts. In Yaraga and Widana communities in the Pusiga District of the Upper East region for instance, women farmers have had to grapple with several challenges in order to produce to feed their families and the nation at large. Some of these challenges are right to land ownership, lack of tools and equipment, and limited access to extension officers.
The pressing challenge however is the lack of access to continuous water for their farms especially during the dry season. It is for this reason that they are calling on government to construct dams for them under the one district one dam program.
At Yaraga for instance, women farmers have had to dig deep hand wells to supply water to their farms. These wells which could best be described as death traps were constructed some years back due to the frequent drying up of the river which they normally rely on. Currently, the water in the river has almost dried up to the extent that it can only cater for their livestock.
In a report by Ghana Television, one of the women farmers , Adiza Sumaila had this to say, “I believe you have seen how we are suffering, we constructed these wells ourselves, we want government to extend its one village one dam to the area which we think will help boost our farming activities”
The story is not different for the women farmers in Widana also in the Pusiga district. At Widana, the women have to carry water on their heads to water their crops. The only dam available to them was constructed in the 1970’s and has not seen any rehabilitation ever since. Currently the dam is silted and cannot serve any meaningful purpose.
“Our leaders have even asked us not to use the choked dam for irrigation purposes else the water will run out and our livestock will suffer the consequences” Salamatu Haruna, a farmer in Widana noted.
As a result, the women had no choice than to use head pans to fetch water from the silted dam to their farms.
The District Chief Executive for Pusiga, Mr. Zubeiru Abdulai promised that the dam will be de-silted. He disclosed that a feasibility study has shown that the land can not hold water and it will therefore be difficult to create more dams. He however gave the assurance that alternative measures are been sought to meet the demands of the farmers.
Aside their water problems, the women are also appealing to government to provide them with subsidized fertilizers to boost their yields.
Despite the challenges, these women farmers are not relenting in their determination to produce more to feed their families and the nation at large.