Although research indicates that African women constitute over 60% of the agricultural labour force in most African countries, at the end of every farming season, they accrue two-thirds less per unit of land than their male counterparts. For a very long time, this phenomenon has been attributed to gender-biased customary laws and policies that put these women at a significant disadvantage and this continues to persist in today’s world.
Being denied vital resources like outright land ownership makes it almost impossible for them to have equal access to capital or credit to buy quality inputs, get proper training or pay for labour. This gap perpetuates over the years and it is making it difficult for the average female smallholder farmer to thrive in their chosen profession and generate lasting wealth to pull themselves out of poverty and give their children the good life they deserve.
According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, if women across the globe are given the opportunities and access to productive resources as men, there will be an exponential increase in agricultural production worldwide, with an estimated 100 to 150 million people lifted out of hunger. In light of this, Farmerline introduced its input credit service which enables smallholder farmers to acquire quality farm inputs like fertilisers and seeds.
In 2020, a women farmer group signed up for this input credit service after interacting with Farmerline field agents during a farmer training workshop on good agronomic practices. They received several bags of fertilisers which they applied onto their farms to boost production.
Sifiasi, as they fondly call themselves, is a group of 31 farmers who produce soybean, maize and groundnut in the Upper West Region of Ghana. They often pool their resources together to cultivate these crops on large acres of farms which they later put up for sale and share the profits at the end of the season.
‘The fertilisers were of high quality,’ group leader Madam Hafisatusays. ‘And the support received significantly increased our yield this season. We are very happy with the results, and would like to continue our relationship with Farmerline in the future.’
Sifiasi will go on to win the Best Farmer Group award in 2021, during the 37th Farmers’ Day celebration held in their district, Sissala East Municipal. This recognition was sponsored by the Market Oriented Agriculture Programme (MOAP), an initiative by GIZ.
‘We were very happy to receive the award,’ group leader Madam Hafisatu told us after winning. ‘We danced for joy when we were called on to collect our prize items. The quality fertilisers we received from Farmerline played a huge role in our win’.
Women farmers who get to have access to farm inputs and other resources, like Sifiasi, have become inspirational success stories. They have become better farmers, proud mothers of educated children, impactful community leaders and business owners. They represent the hope that empowered African women farmers can create sustainable wealth to promote the welfare of the next generation. This is why we celebrate them today.
Thus, it can be said that when female smallholder farmers succeed, everyone benefits – the women themselves, their children, their communities and the economies they contribute to. With effective investments and policies like the Farmerline input credit scheme, they can now stand shoulder to shoulder with their male colleagues to make more food, more profit and more impact.