Rethinking Fertilizer Subsidies for Women—PFAG

The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) has called on the government to review the subsidized fertilizer scheme to ensure that it benefits more women, especially the most vulnerable in hard to reach communities.

The Association said the pro-poor policy was a commendable initiative to help farmers increase their yield, but the way it was implemented, especially the distribution of fertilizers, made it difficult for small-scale women farmers to benefit from it.

Dr. Charles Kwowe Nyaaba, Programs and Advocacy Officer, PFAG, who launched the appeal in Bolgatanga, said that women smallholder farmers, youths and people with disabilities were discriminated against at distribution points and there was a need to remedy it immediately.

“Experience over the years has shown that women are generally overlooked when it comes to access to subsidized fertilizer because, under the policy implementation plan, the provision of a 30% allocation is supposed to go to women, but it didn’t,” he added.

The Subsidized Fertilizer Scheme, under the government‘s “Planting for Food and Jobs” programme, was designed to provide chemical fertilizers at a reduced cost to small-scale farmers, i.e. people who operate between 2.5 and 5 acres.

The idea was to help the poor and vulnerable gain easy access to inputs to increase their yields and improve their livelihoods.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of a gender awareness workshop on the implementation of the subsidized fertilizer scheme, Dr Nyaaba said the policy rather benefits large farmers at the expense of smallholders.

He said women farmers played a key role in achieving food and nutrition security and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and urged the government not only to maintain the 30% allocation for women and people with disabilities , but also to restructure distribution channels to ensure easy access to fertilizers.

Mrs. Gilberta Akuka, a farmer from Sapeliga and chairwoman of PFAG, Bawku West District, said that apart from the non-prioritization of women in distribution, there was also political interference and discrimination at outlets.

She therefore advocated the inclusion of female representatives at distribution points to ensure equality in distribution.

“The men think that we are not strong and when we come to buy at the points of sale, they push us away and this affects us because we always travel several kilometers to the district capitals to get there and yet come back empty hands,” Ms. Akuka said.

The workshop attracted female farmer leaders and Women in Agriculture Development (WIAD) representatives from PFAG’s operational districts in northern Ghana.

The areas include the districts of Kassena-Nankana Municipal, Pusiga, Bawku West and Kassena-Nankana West in the Upper East region, Sissala East in the Upper West region, West Mamprusi and Mamprugu-Moagduri in the North East region and the municipality of Gushegu in the Northern region. .

The workshop sensitized women farmers on gender mainstreaming in agricultural policies and explored ways to address the challenges they face.

It was organized by the PFAG with the financial support of the International Budget Partnership.

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