Empowering Women Farmers Through Financial Independence: The Impact of VSLA and EUGAP in Northern Ghana

In today's dynamic world, achieving financial independence is pivotal in empowering women in the agricultural sector, granting them access to essential financial resources. This access, in turn, enables investment in modern and sustainable farming techniques, amplifying agricultural productivity in both quality and quantity.

Recognizing the vital role of financial empowerment for women farmers, the European Union Ghana Agricultural Programme (EUGAP) has identified Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) as a sustainable funding mechanism that significantly elevates the livelihoods of farmers, particularly in Northern Ghana. By offering financial literacy workshops, training sessions, and savings resources to over 15,600 women farmers, the project equips them with the knowledge and resources needed to enhance their farming practices. This ultimately creates alternative income streams, facilitating the implementation of climate-resilient practices on their farms.

Evelyn and Salimah are testaments to the transformative power of VSLAs in just three years. Evelyn's farming business has undergone a remarkable transformation, shifting from a struggle to prosperity. "My plan is to continue expanding my agricultural business. VSLA has enlarged my farming inputs and given me hope," shares Evelyn. Prior to joining the group, Evelyn faced challenges in making ends meet and nurturing her farming business. However, through her VSLA membership, she now harvests 15 bags of groundnuts on an acre of land, a significant improvement from the previous two bags. The newfound knowledge of mixed farming methods has reduced pest diseases and increased productivity. Additionally, EUGAP's connections have expanded her market accessibility.

"I joined the VSLA in 2020 and was taught cashew farming and conservation agriculture. Now, I practice crop rotation, mixed cropping, and ripping instead of plowing, which was detrimental to my farm yields," says Seibah Salimah, another VSLA member. The savings from VSLA have empowered her to purchase agricultural inputs and seedlings. Salimah's increased income has not only enhanced her farming business but also helped pay her children's school fees.

Since its inception, EUGAP has facilitated the formation and development of 582 Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs), boasting over 15,600 members, 79% of whom are women. These VSLAs have saved close to 243,000 EUR in 2022, amplifying farmers’. VSLA has increased the farmers agricultural incomes and promoted inclusive and sustainable economic growth in rural communities.

The programme consists of the Market Oriented Agriculture Programme in North West (MOAP NW) Ghana, the Resilience Against Climate Change (REACH) project and Productive Investment. The objective is to increase agricultural incomes and promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth in rural communities of the Joint Programme Area (JPA) by 2025.


Author: Matthias Berthold