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Inadequate female agricultural extension officers affected implementation of PFJ 1.0 – Dr. Ninfaa.

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The Head of the Department of Ecological Agriculture at Bolgatanga Technical University, Dr. Augustus Dery Ninfaa, has identified a gap in extension services for women in parts of the Upper East Region. Dr. Ninfaa explained that during interactions with his students, it became evident that some male extension officers are unable to consistently visit female farmers on their farms due to concerns related to potential accusations of infidelity by husbands of the said women farmers.

He noted that this is limiting women’s access to the benefits of free extension services, which is one of the key aspects addressed in phase one of the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.

According to Dr. Ninfaa, “If you look at the policies that govern the planting for food and jobs, one of them is free extension services, which I feel are woefully inadequate if you look at the ratio of extension officers to farmers in the region or the country as a whole.”

“Most  male extension officers with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture have expressed concern that most married female farmers in the Upper East Region become shy with their frequent visits to offer extension services because of what their husbands may suspect them of doing, and that is a challenge to them and the farmer,” he added.

He said the desire of people to become extension officers is very low, stressing that “ we train extension officers, but sadly, people who want to be trained as extension staff are very few. If you go to all the universities in Ghana, I can say that the number of people who recruit to do agriculture programs has been woefully inadequate”.

Dr. Ninfaa said the challenge therefore calls for a deliberate effort by stakeholders to enrol most females to become extension officers to not only address this menace but to also help solve the deficit of extension officers in the region and the country at large.

He revealed this when he spoke to Mark Smith on A1 Radio`s Daybreak Upper East Show regarding the review of the planting for food and jobs phase one and the way forward.

Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Gilbert Azeem Tiroog|Ghana

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