Members of the Farmers Organizations Network in Ghana (FONG), have called on the National Buffer Stock Company to inspect the quality of produce purchased by food contractors to ensure that women who process such produce, especially rice, do not run into losses.

They are also asking that payment for food processing under the Buffer Stock Company should be prompt and full, adding that the current arrangement of installment payment was a challenge to the work of the contractors and women operating under the project.

This was contained in a press release issued by members of FONG in Tamale on Thursday after a meeting to deliberate on matters of women’s development, as well as policy issues of concern regarding agricultural growth and development, food security and poverty reduction.

The meeting was to mark the fifth World Rural Women’s Day instituted by the United Nations to recognize the importance of rural women in agriculture and their contribution to the reduction of hunger and poverty in the world.

Rural women contribute significantly in enhancing agriculture and rural development, improving food security and reducing poverty, but have remained the less privileged in terms of access to natural and productive resources such as land, credit, inputs, extension services, training and education amongst others.

The press release said, “…donors should desist from spending exorbitant money on workshops and seminars in the name of helping poor women” because that amounted to reduction in the quantum of funds that finally reached the women.

It called on government to be committed to increasing the number of women in decision-making positions in the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) in the area of recruiting more Agricultural Extension agents.

The press release called for increased funding, which would be channeled towards assisting the productive activities of women in rural areas.

It said “MoFA should harmonize its agricultural credit programmes and make specific quotas to meet the growing needs of women farmers”.

It added that “allocation of tractors and agro-inputs should be done with special considerations for women groups” because women in all areas had proven to be worthy in credit repayment and so deserved more attention and trust in this area.

It called on civil society organizations to harmonize their efforts in advocating for non-discrimination in resource allocation to rural women, especially those in agriculture.

It called on government to create platforms for farmers and buyers to negotiate prices of food produce to ensure that farmers do not lose at the end of harvest.

“This is necessary to ensure that repayment of agriculture credit does not become a problem to farmers”, the release stressed.

It concluded: “As we approach elections, all political parties should adhere to peaceful conduct, before during and after the elections because women suffer when there is no peace”.

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