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Forest, farm sector project to benefit residents in Wa West District

The Innovation for Sustainable Rural Development (ISRuDev) has begun the implementation of a forest and farm sector project to empower about 1000 women and youth in the Wa West District.

The project, ‘Enhancing Resilience and Sustainability of Women Producer Groups in the Forest and Farm Sector in the Wa West District,’ was funded by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).

It is under the Forest and Farm Facility Direct Beneficiary Grants.

ISRuDev is a membership-based organisation in the District made up of 30 women groups and a youth group.

The project is expected to benefit all 31 women and youth member groups of ISRuDev in 20 communities of the district, including Kpenaateng, Gbaalwob, Chogsia, Gyinuokoraa, and Tawonkyele with an estimated 946 individual members.

This came to light during a stakeholder forum at Wechiau in the Wa West District to discuss the barriers to women farmers’ participation in forest and farm activities.

It was also to discuss innovative strategies to ena
ble the women farmers to derive the benefits from the forest and farm activities.

Mr Maxwell Kpetaa Maal-Eng, the Business Development Officer at ISRuDev, said the project sought to increase the business development skills and profitability of green businesses for the beneficiary groups.

It was to build the capacity of group members to adopt and promote climate-smart agricultural practices.

The project would cover vegetables (dry season production), soya beans, shea butter, and moringa processing and provide training and market linkages for member groups in the value chains.

Other interventions include upscaling the provision of solar-powered mechanised water systems for irrigation to ensure year-round integrated diversified green production, woodlots creation, and conducting advanced Village Savings and Loans for the member groups, among other things.

Mr Maale-Eng said the project would conduct anti-bushfire campaigns in 12 communities, form and train community bushfire volunteers, and facilitate the cr
eation of community restoration areas and woodlots.

Some participants at the forum advocated the promotion of forest and farm products and creating markets for those products.

They said if women benefited from forest products such as shea and dawadawa, they would play critical roles in protecting the forest and its products.

Bush burning and illegal felling of trees were major destructive agents of the forest and its products, they said and stressed the need for concerted efforts to curb the menace, including legislation to stop the twin man-made disasters against the forest.

Mr Fuseini Nadi, the Wa West Agricultural Officer in charge of Crops, said the intervention had the potential to revolutionise agricultural activities, especially among women farmers.

He said the discussion on women’s access and ownership right to land would ensure their right to lands was guaranteed to be confident to invest and develop those lands for long-term agricultural purposes.

‘The project line is a game changer since it w
ill sensitise the women on climate change and educate them on innovative ways of farming and access to land,’ he said.

Mr Nadi encouraged women to leverage climate-smart agricultural practices like the use of improved seeds to increase production amidst the impact of climate change.

Madam Vaar Yuorle, a woman farmer from the Meteu community, expressed the hope that their membership in the ISRuDev would facilitate access to timely tractor services and improved seed varieties at affordable prices.

Madam Agnes Sonyotey, also a member from Gyinuokoraa, said ISRuDev had trained them to process soybeans into cake and other food varieties to feed their children and to sell and hoped they would receive more skills training to improve their well-being through the Farm and Forest project.

Representatives from the beneficiary women and youth groups, Security Agencies, Heads of Departments, and traditional leaders among others attended the forum.

Source: Ghana News Agency