The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF-SGP) has commissioned the first Women-led Groundnut Processing Factory at Ayorya in the Kintampo South District in the Bono East Region of Ghana.
The groundnut processing factory will serve 3000 farmers, mainly women within the Kintampo South District.
The factory will process groundnut into oil and paste which will encourage women farmers in groundnut farming.
A news release from UNDP said the women-led enterprises’ project is under a special initiative programme aimed at job creation for women, enhancing food security, promoting sustainable utilisation of biodiversity products to meet international standards, and ensuring sustainable income flow to vulnerable women within the fragile ecosystems.
Through the project, farmers are now engaged in climate-smart organic agriculture by preparing and using compost instead of chemical fertilizers whilst growing high-yielding short-duration varieties to mitigate the effects of drought.
Ms Silke Hollander, the Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP Ghana, indicated that the factory was a result of the strategic grant of US$34,100 (GHS180,000) provided by UNDP/GEF-SGP to support and expand innovative women-led nature-based business enterprises.
According to the news release, Ms Hollander applauded the women for investing in the grant to boost groundnut processing and expressed optimism that women entrepreneurs can make a difference in adding value to agricultural products to achieve a better and more sustainable future.
It cited Ms Hollander as saying, “Given the strategic importance of this investment by the women to job creation, food security and sustainable incomes, the women have demonstrated yet again that with the needed support, women can rise and drive sustainable development through social entrepreneurship.”
Ms Hollander also emphasised UNDP’s continuous commitment to supporting Ghana in empowering women with entrepreneurial skills through training, innovation, technology transfer, knowledge management and access to financial resources to ensure that they are not left behind in the sustainable development agenda.
Bono East Regional Minister, Mr Kwesi Adu Gyan said the processing factory was in line with the region’s agricultural commercialisation agenda which is anchored on mechanisation and value addition. He also commended UNDP for supporting the region’s development agenda.
President of the Ayorya Women Groundnut Producers Association, Madam Hannah Achiama highlighted the role UNDP/GEF-SGP support playing in transforming their lives and expressed gratitude for the continuous support which has resulted in the establishment of the processing factory.
The release cited her as saying, ‘’For several years, our groundnut farming was faced with many challenges, but now, through the financial and technical support we get, we can scale up and improve our yield. With this factory, we are hoping to begin exporting groundnut oil and paste to neighboring countries which will earn us a more sustainable income.”
Patience Anaadem, ISD