Madam Talata in Ghana (pictured above) is a successful past participant in RESULT, a previous CFTC food security initiative. Read more about her story here. Photo by Ernest Kodjo Ayikpah.
Berhane, a female farmer in Ethiopia, recently told us:
“I cannot exactly narrate what life would look like if I wasn't [part of this program], but I am sure of one thing: my children would be short of food. I would also not get loan access, no savings, no gardening, and no government services.”
Like 79% of African women, Berhane depends on farming to earn a living. But unlike most African women farmers, Berhane has started a business, thanks to skills she learned by participating in donor-supported Canadian Feed The Children programming. It has made a big impact on her life. Her children can eat well and get an education, while her profits cover other family expenses like health and clothing. But she wants to go further.
"The hope for my business will be to grow more and more."
Berhane is one of thousands of women in Ethiopia and Ghana who work in agriculture and want to grow their livelihoods. They are working to grow bigger harvests, start new income streams, support their families' dreams and contribute to community decision making. Unfortunately, they face many obstacles.
Gender inequality is holding female farmers back
In Ethiopia and Ghana, gender discrimination means women cannot usually farm productively.
- Women in Ghana and Ethiopia are often prevented from owning land. In Ethiopia, only 20% of agricultural landowners are women. In Ghana, women are 3x less likely to own agricultural land than men.
- Women farmers earn less income, despite making up the majority of the workforce. In Ghana, women comprise up to 70% of the agricultural labour force, and produce up to 70% of crops. Despite this they earn less than 10% of incomes in the agricultural sector. Similarly, women make up 45% of the Ethiopian agricultural workforce, but 56% of them are unpaid.
- Most female farmers can't access the credit, technology, farming inputs, training or markets needed to establish, maintain and grow their businesses.
- Climate change disproportionately affects women and girls. Because women often farm small subsistence level crops, the soil erosion and crop loss from climate change means women farmers are hit harder economically than male counterparts.
Past CFTC projects have shown that investing in women can reverse these trends, which is why Canadian Feed The Children is proud to announce two new projects to support female farmers.
CLIMATE and SHINE will advance women’s agriculture
Canadian Feed The Children is joining with local partners to launch two new projects in Ethiopia and Ghana: CLIMATE and SHINE. These projects will build on women farmers' strengths to increase sustainable agriculture, create more women-led agribusiness and increase women's economic power.
Climate Information Made Available to Entrepreneurial Farmers (CLIMATE)
This two-year project in northern Ghana will focus on climate-resilient agriculture (including accurate weather data and communication infrastructure), income generation and market support for women farmers. For this project, we have partnered with RAINS, TUDRIDEP, TradeAID International, the Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMet), and Farm Radio International. CLIMATE is funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Sustainable Development, Human Rights, Inclusion and Equality (SHINE)
The SHINE project will empower women and girls to establish sustainable, female-led agriculture and agribusinesses in Ethiopia and Ghana with a gender-responsive project design. SHINE will reach 24,000 small-holder farmers, 70% of them women and girls. We will implement this project in partnership with CHADET, TradeAID International and the African Agribusiness Incubators Network (AAIN). SHINE is funded by Global Affairs Canada.
A strong economic future for women farmers in Ethiopia and Ghana
After years of subsistence farming, Berhane in Ethiopia began planting new high-earning crops, raising livestock and running a drinks stand. She accomplished this by joining a women-only cooperative, accessing loans, and receiving targeted agricultural and business training. Her savings are helping her family through the pandemic despite last year's setbacks. Berhane is not part of the CLIMATE and SHINE projects, but her experience shows what's possible for the participants who are just getting started.
Thanks to the generous support of the African Development Bank and Global Affairs Canada, as well as Canadian donors like you, thousands of women farmers in Ethiopia and Ghana will get the chance to increase their economic power, just like Berhane. We sincerely thank the African Development Bank and Global Affairs Canada for their investment in women's food security, poverty reduction, and empowering the next generation of women and girls.