Improving Women’s Access to Income through Soybean Production and Processing in Tolon District of Northern Region, Ghana.

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The Youth Development and Voice Initiative (YOVI), a Non-governmental organization based in Tamale, Ghana has organized capacity building for the Suglo Konbo Women’s Association in the Tolon District of Northern Region. YOVI work together with Stakeholders, development partners, and poor communities to advocate for the respect of the rights of children, Youth and Women to derive change on their own terms whilst contributing to the improvement of the quality of life of young people through SRHR education and services. The organization envisage a society free from all forms of abuses, poverty and gender inequality, violence against women and children with improved quality education for all, health and well-being.

With funding support from the Riverside Sharing Fund, New York City, the training seeks to enhance capacity of 30 beneficiary women on Soybean Production, processing, business management, savings and marketing strategies

The overall goal of the proposed project is aimed at facilitating the economic transformation of women in Tolon District, particularly soybean production to achieve a greater degree of stability in their enterprises and livelihoods.

The project is also supporting beneficiary women to embark on Soybean production and processing and expected to directly increase incomes of beneficiary women, enhance food security and nutritional value for children and increase economic opportunities for better quality of life in Tolon District.

In an opening remark, the Executive Director of YOVI noted that Soybean is the women-friendly crop, having quietly escaped from the basket of staple crops cultivated in Northern Ghana. This makes soybean the most crop cultivated by women, who obtain immediate cash to meet their ever-increasing personal and business needs. Apart from being a cash-ready crop, soybeans also contribute to a bulk of the protein needs of farm families in Northern Ghana, particularly for nursing mothers and children under 5 years. Mr. Hussein also noted that women are the nurturers, caregivers and better managers of society. Therefore, supporting women to improve their economic prospects were crucial to the development of their household and children in particular.

Dr. Osman Damba, a lecturer at the Faculty of Agribusiness and Applied Economics (FAAE) at University for Development Studies (UDS) and key facilitator of the session took participants through topics such as Soybean production, processing, business management, savings and marketing strategies. His presentation was within current global demand for quality food and hence called on the creation and strengthening of commodity value chains. He stressed on the need for participants to identify themselves within various commodity chains to enhance profit while reducing costs. Dr. Damba stressed that value chains can only be efficient when it is built on trust. Dr. Damba further stressed that, commodity value chains enhance farmers collective action towards effective price negotiations. Dr Osman Damba stressed on the need of participants to take advantage of the numerous opportunities available at the district assembly so as to enhance their livelihoods.

In his closing remark, the Executive Director noted that YOVI works with a number of women and youth groups in other Districts with diverse projects. He advised beneficiary women to take the training seriously and prepare themselves ahead of the farming season for follow up support on Soybean production and processing. The project if successful, would be replicated in other communities in the District for subsequent beneficiaries.

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