Poor access to tractor services is one of the major challenges facing farmers living in the Tamalegu and Zaazi communities of the Tolon and Savelugu districts respectively. This problem came to light during focus group discussions organized by the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) These Discussions were organized in two communities to identify the technological needs of farmers, time use during the groundnut cropping season, production constraints, available technologies to mitigate the constraints. The discussants also ranked the technological needs according to their importance in contributing to their production and maximizing their time use efficiency.
“The delay in ploughing farmlands affects the timing for seed sowing which subsequently results in low yields. In terms of access, women are more constrained in terms of accessing tractor services since priority is given to men.”Says Dr. Edward Martey, Socio-Economist, CSIR-SARI
The group discussion was organized as part of a five year project joint study between Penn State University and CSIR-SARI in Ghana. seeks to assess women’s time poverty (defined as insufficient time to take on new tasks and responsibilities) and its influence on women’s participation in the peanut value chain, and to develop and evaluate strategies to enhance participation.
project establishing a farmer field school (FFS) in selected communities to build the capacity of the farmers and promote time-saving technologies which is expected to reduce women’s time poverty and empower them to participate in household decision making. The FFS will also serve as a platform for discussing key gender issues regarding access to resources (such as land, agricultural technologies, and credit), roles, and feminization of agriculture.
Farmers interviewed also raised issues on the high cost of labour, lack of access to credit, lack of access to quality seed, lack of technical support/advice, low soil fertility, lack of access to fertilizer, grain losses due to post-harvest handling, lack of access to a shelling machine and marketing challenges regarding price.
“Demands of household activities do not allow us to weed on time which affect our yield. The men can mobilize themselves for farm support, but it is not the same with us. It is not possible for us to mobilize other women given that they may be busy with other household activities.” community.Says Zuleha Ibrahim, groundnut farmer in Zaazi
To reduce the toil of farmers, CSIR-SARI in collaboration with Penn State is linking farmers to tractor services and input dealers. Secondly they are supporting the groups financially to acquire planters and shellers. However, financial commitment from the farmers will be key in inducing interest and sustainable use of the implements.