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“In the next five years, I want to be the best woman ginger farmer in the district”

Asanna Iddrisu sits by her ginger harvest, readying it for market

A few years ago, Asanna Iddrisu was a struggling subsistence farmer working to make ends meet to feed her family and herself, until ActionAid and our partner, Centre for Maternal Health and Community Empowerment (CMCE) began an animal farming intervention to support women farmers to have varied sources of income and increase their economic activities to break the cycle of poverty.

Living in the Ohiatua community in the Asutifi South District of the Brong Ahafo region of Ghana, the 34-year old mother of three was one of the first people to benefit from ActionAid's intervention.

My community was one of the 18 communities that was selected to be part of the project in 2011. Within the community, 10 women benefited from this intervention with each woman receiving three sheep [two females and one male] through balloting

The beneficiaries were also supported with trainings to increase the number of the livestock.

We received training from the District Agricultural Development Unit and visits by the agricultural officials.  As a result, the animals multiplied to six by 2015.

As a prerequisite of the support, each beneficiary was to transfer two female sheep to a colleague interested in rearing animals after they had reproduced before they could claim complete ownership of the animals and make any sale on them. The transfer of the animals would guarantee that all women interested in animal farming were supported with livestock.

In 2016, Asanna transferred two of the animals to her colleague and proceeded to sell two more.

I used the profit from selling the two animals to start ginger cultivation which is a very lucrative venture in the area. I had Gh¢200.00 [about $40 USD] from the sale and used the money to support my ginger farming business. During the 2017 harvest, I obtained eight bags of ginger and planted five bags. In 2018, I harvested 30 bags of ginger from the farm. I sold 20 bags for Gh¢1,500.00 [about $300 USD] and planted 10 bags which I will harvest in 2019.

Because of her increased income, Asanna is now able to assist her husband financially. She has also managed to expand her farm.

I used part of the money to pay for my children’s school fees and the rest to support the farming business through payment of labour and renting of additional farm land. In addition to the ginger farming which is expanding year by year, I still have eight animals that I rear. This is also serving as additional source of income to the family. Now, I feel relieved from the kind of hardship I was under

Her economic freedom has also resulted in her being included in decision-making by her husband

I didn’t have income before and had to go to my husband to ask for money to buy anything I needed. But now, I no longer do this. Now, I have joy in my marriage and my husband always discusses the family issues with me. He has also been supportive and helps out on the ginger farm so that we can have more yields and increase the income in the house

Under the government’s One District, One Factory (1D1F) policy, residents in the district are set to benefit from the establishment of a Ginger Processing factory and Asanna has plans to expand her farm in 2019 to meet the demand this will generate.

Women ginger farmers in the area have started coming together to form an association to enable us to collectively have a louder voice to engage with government for better prices for our produce. In the next five years, I want to be the best woman ginger farmer in the district. I have been sharing with other fellow women in the community on how the livestock rearing has enhanced my livelihood and enabled me to expand my ginger farm.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Communication Officer for ActionAid Ghana