Climate Change; a big challenge for Women in Vegetable Farming in Upper East Region

Women harvesting Cowpeas – Photo: Credit Elisa Walton/USAID

Women engaged in Vegetable Farming in the Upper East Region have been lamenting over the current unfavorable climate changes and the accompanying harsh weather conditions, which they say, have contributed to the decline in their farming activities.

In the Upper East Region of Ghana, a significant number of women are involved in Vegetable farming at the peasant level and hardly make ends meet with their income from the farming. They compete among themselves over the little market for their produce, which opens them up for exploitation by costumers and “middle-men” who supply vegetables to institutions.

It is often said by many Research Institutions and even Politicians, that Agriculture is the engine for growth and poverty reduction in the Upper East Region and the entire country, and yet, very little investment is done in this sector, hence, the seasonal disappointments experienced by the poor, who farm with very little inputs in the face of erratic rainfall pattern and harsh weather condition.

Apart from the harsh weather conditions and lack of support from government, there is also the issue of destruction caused by stray animals.

I interacted with a single mother, Mma Asibi, who has been cultivating vegetables for 6 years, indeed, I nearly shed tears due to her sad story but, thank God it was controlled after listening to the single mother.

“It is worrying seeing myself engaged in vegetable farming in this part of the world, where unfavorable weather condition and lack of assistance from government or Non-Governmental Organization, have been the order of the day. I struggle day and night to water my small vegetable farm to take care of my children, but as it stands now, am afraid and worried about what to do, as the business becomes too challenging. But the most painful aspect is that, after going through all these tough times and challenges, people will leave there animals to come and feed in my farm, leaving me and my children stranded”. She lamented.

Aggregate data shows that, women comprise about 43 percent of the Agricultural Labour Force globally and in developing countries including Ghana.

One thing I have noticed and believed in is that, contribution of women to agricultural and food production is significant, but it is impossible to verify or prove the share produced by women some times.

Yes, the International Development Community has recognized that, agriculture is an engine for growth and poverty reduction in countries where it is the main occupation of the poor. But also, I think that there is a great need to build the capacity of rural women to cope with challenges associated with eliminating poverty and hunger and even greater opportunity to harness the energy of disengaged rural women to contribute to the economic development of Ghana.

I think, it’s time we encourage and support women in vegetable farming across the regions, because they play very important role in our economic sustainability.

They have complained of unfavorable weather condition, which has affected their production, and also complained of people leaving their animals to destroy their vegetables. They have complained of no support by either government or NGO’s to improve on their farming activities.

A research report published in the Agricultural and Food Science Journal of Ghana and conducted by Researchers at the Crops Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, has revealed that, the number of women engaged in vegetable farming is declining, a situation we should be worried about, because of the effect it will have on vegetable production in Ghana.

I think, in encouraging these rural women in vegetable farming, Government needs to provide them with some assistance by constructing a dam near their farming areas to help them water their vegetable, especially during the dry season.

By:Ngamegbulam Chidozie Stephen/a1radioonline.com

Email:stephen@a1radioonline.com

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