CSIR- STEPRI has once again successfully completed another project. This project was on gender responsive agricultural extension delivery for improved agricultural productivity in northern Ghana.
The study was conducted with the overall goal of understanding gender responsive agricultural extension delivery for improved Agricultural Productivity in Northern Ghana. The study established that the traditions of the communities work against women in terms of productivity, as they only farm on small lands and are burdened with many household chores leaving them with limited time to work on their farms. The study again found that the four most important factors influencing improved technology adoption by all categories of farmers include improvement in yields, cost implications, affordability and user friendliness. Generally, resourceful farmers adopt improved varieties of maize better because such varieties require high level of inputs particularly fertilizer. Although gender gap with respect to access to land exist, current dynamics show some improvement with women empowerment. Some resource endowed women have more land than men. Women utilization of relatively small size of cultivable land, women non-use of ICTs, lack of women extension staff to help come to terms with the difficulties of women were identified as some factors limiting women access to extension and rural advisory services.
Despite the above cultural barriers, the study found that agricultural interventions that targeted gender in its extension activities such as the ADVANCE Project benefited female more than their male counterparts and this reflected in their farm incomes. Some resource endowed women have more land than men. The average percentage increase in access to land is 6.4% for those women beneficiaries. Women have increased their farm yields and incomes. The average percentage of increase in yield obtained by women who benefited from the ADVANCE gender mainstreaming is 22.9% per acre for maize and 13.8 % per acre for soybean.
The study methodology covered (1) Literature Review (2) Data Collection (3) Analysis and Report Writing, and (4) Validation Workshop. The literature reviewed covered work done on gender in agricultural development with specific focus on two case studies. The case studies were the USAID ADVANCE project and Women in Extension Volunteer Project in the Northern Ghana. It was explained that the cases were selected based on the project implementation approaches to mainstream gender and the effort to extend extension delivery to female farmers and the youth. The data collection methods employed both one-on-one interviews using a structured questionnaire and focus group discussions using a semi-structured interview guide
Then study concluded amongst others that the four most important factors influencing improved technology adoption include improvement in yields, cost implications, affordability and user friendliness. Generally, resourceful farmers adopt improved varieties of maize better because such varieties require high level of inputs particularly fertilizer.
From the above conclusions the study recommendations were
(1) strengthen capacity of women extension volunteers,
(2) break gendered allocation of crop types through women empowerment progrmmes, (increase advocacy on women empowerment)
(3) use male champions to increase women access to extension and rural advisory services as well as access to production resources,
(4) use appropriate extension methodologies/tools to reach out to females and the youth; and
(5) MOFA to collaborate with advocacy groups to tackle strict traditional gender roles and socio-cultural barriers limiting women access to productive resources.