The progress made by Ghana in the economic empowerment of women in the cocoa sector despite the numerous challenges was highly commended at an event on cocoa held on the sidelines of the United Nations Conference on the Status of Women conference currently ongoing in New York, United States of America.

Gender based groups, individuals and NGOs who attended the event which was held on theme: economic empowerment of women in the cocoa industry were intrigued by high levels of success of efforts to empower women in the industry despite the numerous challenges.

The event opened with the thought provoking account of the youngest female cocoa farmer.

Madam Lucy Addae Poku, who owns about 10 acres of cocoa alone, recounted how women struggle with cultural stereotypes, poor access to funding and little or no technical assistance from state institutions to break the glass ceiling in the agricultural and production sectors.

These challenges notwithstanding, she said she and a few female farm owners are determined to set the pace in the sector so they can attract more women to go into cocoa farming.

While commending the government for prioritising the sector in its new policy, Mrs. Addae Poku called for additional financial support and the review of land regulations to enable women own land without difficulty or bully by their male counterparts.

The Gender and Social Protection Minister, Otiko Afisa Djaba disclosed that government in line with the policy to prioritize food production has decided to dedicate 50% of the MASLOC funds to women in agriculture.

She described this as key to the government as it intends to ensure women play the critical role of being the backbone of our society

The deputy minister designate for Environment and Science, Patricia Appiagyei, charged women not to be weary in the quest for economic empowerment encouraging women to remain determined.

According to her, it is unfair that women own only 1% of the world’s property despite helping to create almost half of it.

The UN conference on the status of women brings together women from all over the world to discuss the progress of women and address issues that shape their future.
The conference continues this week.

Source: Ghana / / AFIA POKUA


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