A successful woman farmer from Kunyukuong in the Lawra Municipality of the Upper West region, Hajia Hamida Iddris has called on young women to embrace farming as a business and invest in it. She contends that farmers are rich, and not poor as people perceive.
The nucleus farmer, a nominee for the 3rd Edition of the Women in Food and Agricultural Leadership and Training Forum (WOFAGRIC) and the Gold in the Soil awards, said there is no serious farmer who will ever lack food or money, as there is always something to eat or sell. She thus encouraged women to see farming as a viable venture that can help alleviate their hardship, indicating that it does not require any skills to become a successful farmer.
Narrating how she began, Hajia Hamida said, “I started as an ordinary smallholder farmer 30 years ago but now [I] own 47 acres of farm, a tractor, a sheller and a seeds and inputs shop.” She also disclosed that, “I am also into rearing of animals. There are currently 115 animals comprising 35 sheep, 40 goats and 40 cattle.” The enterprising farmer also rears fowls and doves and also offers extension services to her colleague women farmers.
The benevolent woman who takes farming as a business said she has employed seven permanent workers in her farm and occasionally engages others during the peak seasons. Aside being an employer, she also supports women in her area, who wish to farm, with improved seeds and inputs at the beginning of every farming season for a fee payable in cash or in kind (farm produce) after harvest.
Hajia Hamida said, after the main farming season, she engages in dry season farming at the banks of the Black Volta though on small scale. She has also encouraged and supported over 100 women to put up dry season farms.
As a farmer, Hajia Hamida mentioned bush fires as a major challenge affecting farmers in the area. She lamented how bushfires have caused losses to farmers especially when the produce are harvested or ripe for harvest. She proposed early ploughing and harvesting and the establishment of farm mechanisation centers as ways that can help curb the effects of bushfires.
Madam Hamida Iddris is one of 25 women in the Upper West Region shortlisted for various categories in the Gold in the Soil Awards for this year. These women are working in the agriculture value chain as crop producers, processors or value adders and farm inputs dealers.
The GOLD IN THE SOIL AWARDS is an initiative of Agrihouse Foundation to recognize and celebrate women working along the agriculture value chain. The main event is set to take place in Bolgatanga, the Upper East Regional capital, on the 23rd and 24th of June, 2021. The event is supported by ABSA Bank, YARA Ghana, Interplast and the Canadian Embassy.