The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has organised a two-day policy dialogue in Koforidua with focus on promoting gender equality and empowering women to contribute effectively to the food system transformation agenda.
Held on Sunday, the forum aims to foster inclusive and engaging discussions among various stakeholders, particularly Members of Parliament, to address the challenges faced by rural women in the agricultural sector and promote gender-responsive legislation, policies, and investment plans.
Agriculture and agricultural investments are considered crucial for addressing poverty, food security, nutrition, gender equality, and women’s empowerment in Africa and has attracted high-level policy commitments and investments towards gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Irrespective of this commitment, there is a significant gap in translating these efforts into tangible development outcomes for rural women and their communities; a gap which hampers the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the goals of the ECOWAS Regional Agricultural Investment Plan for food security and nutrition (RAIPFSN).
Evidently, in Ghana, women account for 50 per cent of the agricultural labour force and produce nearly 70 per cent of food crops but significant gender and social inequalities persist, particularly among rural women.
The United Nations Resident Coordinator for Ghana, Charles Abani, said in order for gender equality and women’s empowerment to drive Ghana’s economic growth, it is essential to enhance the capabilities of key stakeholders, including the legislative branch of the government.
“This entails adopting transformative strategies and bringing about a comprehensive transformation of existing structures such as discriminatory social norms, customs, values, and exclusionary practices, as well as laws, policies, procedures, and services,” he added.
This platform, the FAO Representative in Ghana, Yurdi Yasmi, said has been designed to equip the stakeholders on the subject matter for the benefit of the greater population.
“By learning from the experiences and knowledge shared at this event, parliamentarians will be better equipped to design gender-responsive legislation, policies, and investment plans to build on Ghana’s successes so far,” he said.
It is the expectation of the organisers that the policy dialogue would address the challenges and barriers faced by women in the food system, such as limited access to resources, gender-based discrimination, and unequal opportunities.
The FAO recognises that gender equality and women’s empowerment are essential components of achieving food security and promoting sustainable development and that by facilitating the dialogue, the awareness, promote policy changes, would be enhanced to encourage concrete actions that support women’s meaningful participation and leadership in the agricultural sector.
BY SALIFU ABDUL RAHMAN
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