In a move aimed at bolstering women’s participation and entrepreneurship in agriculture, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (CSIR-SARI) has distributed processing equipment to women groups in four districts in the Upper East and Upper West Regions to produce soya milk and other soya products, to improve income earnings in their communities.
The beneficiary communities included Yameriga in Talensi, Dalaasa in Builsa South, and Tarikuom in Bawku West Districts, and Nanchala in the Sisala East Municipality.
The presentation was made by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (CSIR-SARI) under the project; “Creating Lands of Opportunity: Transforming Livelihoods through Landscape Restoration in the Sahel” (Lands of Opportunities for Global Mechanism in the Sahel), dubbed LOGMe project”.
The three-year LOGMe project which commenced in 2020 is being implemented by International Union for Conservation of Nature with an additional one-year extension to 2024, funded by The Italian Ministry for Ecological Transitions. This is through the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, a Global Mechanism in Burkina Faso, Ghana and Niger.
The overall objective is to make a significant and sustainable contribution towards landscape restoration in the Sahel while creating income-generating activities for local communities in Burkina Faso, Ghana and Niger.
The equipment received by the women included bottles for bottling soya milk, Ice Chests, bags of sugar, deep frying pans and accessories and gallons of oil and this was a follow-up to training that the CSIR-SARI had already provided for the women.
Dr Iddrisu Yahaya, the Principal Investigator of CSIR-SARI noted that the project hoped to improve the economic well-being of the people in the landscape and establish viable linkages among the actors along the agricultural value chain, for improved production and income generation opportunities.
Building The Capacities of the Beneficiary Communities
Dr Iddrisu Yahaya indicated that apart from building the capacities of the beneficiary communities for increased household income, the support will sustain the project gains through continuous, all-year-round processing of soy products.
The beneficiaries also received training on good agronomic practices, post-harvest management and climate change effects. He emphasised that under the LOGMe project, a series of training on soya beans utilisation was provided to help the women excel in soya kebab and soya milk production for a group activity on a large scale in their communities. “The support is, therefore, to enable the groups to sustain the activity through value addition and improved livelihoods,” he said.
Again, SARI would continue to monitor the groups’ performance and organise a mid-year dry land Fair for the beneficiaries to display their value-added products.
Dr Julius Yirzagla, a Co-Principal Investigator of the LoGME project (CSRI-SARI), encouraged the beneficiary communities to make good use of the equipment and items for their maximum impact.
In Ghana, the main implementing partners are the CSIR-SARI, A-Rocha Ghana, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Meanwhile, the project is implemented in eight communities within four districts in the Upper East and Upper West Regions namely the Builsa South District (Dalaasa and Naadema), Talensi District (Yameriga and Awaradone), Bawku West (Tarikom and Gbango) and Sissala East District (Nanchala and Saakalu).
CSIR-SARI’s contribution to the project is to improve the livelihoods of beneficiary communities by establishing sustainable production of high-value dryland products within the communities.
In line with its sustainable value chain development plan, CSIR-SARI trained beneficiary communities in good agronomic practices (GAPs) for improved production and productivity of maize and soybeans within the eight communities during the 2022 and 2023 cropping seasons.
During the 2023 seasons, women in Nanchala, Yameriga, Dalaasa and Tarikuom were trained in the processing of soybean into soymilk and soy kebabs, to serve as income-generating activities.