VSLA's in action - impacts on Ghanaian female farmers

02/03/23

Abena Oforiwaa is a 35-year-old married woman with three children from the Asankragua community. She has been growing cocoa on 3.14 ha of farmland for over 8 years now, but she joined ECOM Ghana’s farmer group in 2020.

 

She recounts that prior to joining ECOM Ghana as a farmer, her yield from the land was very low due to a lack of investment capacity and technical know-how in managing good agricultural practices (GAPs) and good environmental practices (GEPs). She also had no alternate source of income, which resulted in her facing major financial challenges and an increased financial burden on her husband, consequently resulting in a series of frustrations.

 

However, her story changed after she enrolled in our farmer business school, where the field officer, Mr. Kojo Opoku, introduced her to a variety of programs such as the Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA), Additional Livelihood Programme (ALP), GAPs, GEPs, etc. According to her, Mr. Opoku engaged all the farmers one-on-one after each meeting to encourage them to implement at least one of the initiatives.

 

Abena Oforiwaa claims she was very passionate about the Village Savings and Loan Association after the eye-opening training because she gained financial literacy, and this made her join the association in 2021. She has since been an active member and contributed to the sustainability of the group.

 

As a result of her determination, she has been able to save enough money, which has helped her adopt the Additional Livelihood Program. She is now cultivating cabbage on 2 acres of land and recounts that she has been carrying out all the good agricultural practices on her farm, and the field officer visits her frequently to provide all the necessary support and encouragement.

 

During her first harvest, she had the good fortune to reap 65 sacks of cabbage from her 2 acres of production land, netting her GHS 10, 500.00 ($814.11). It was a great source of joy and transformation for her. She is now more eager and intends to cultivate more acres of land compared to the first few acres she cultivated.

"In the past, my family wasn’t able to get an alternative source of income apart from what we were earning from cocoa, which was very meager, but this year, we have been able to significantly increase the income through the cultivation of cabbage with the help of a GH5,000.00 ($387.67) loan I took from our VSLA.

 

 I couldn't have established and managed the 2-acre cabbage farm without the VSLA loan. In fact, land clearing, seeds, fertilizer, agrochemicals, and labor expenses were all covered by the loan from the VSLA.

 

I am a happy woman now because I can see a great relief from my financial burden, thanks to my husband for his enormous support all these years and my field officer for the great investment in ensuring that I gain financial freedom. Our kids are enjoying their education with no school fee arrears.''

 

By: Anna Yayra A. Ademadjiku

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