GenderPolicies and Implementation in Ghana’s Agriculture WaterSector
BySaaDittoh,University of Development Studies (UDS),Tamale, GhanaPaperpresented at aGENDER & IRRIGATION TECHNICAL WORKSHOPApril 13 and 14, 2016Best Western Premier Accra Airport Hotel, Accra, GhanaOrganized by IFPRI, IWMI and GIDAUSAID Feed the Future Innovation Laboratory for Small Scale Irrigation in Ghana
Water is life and without water there is no agriculture.Ghana’sagricultural and rural development policies have consistently stressed on gender mainstreaming at all levels.That isbecausean efficient and sustainable agricultural sector must be gender-sensitive andshould indicate a large degree of equity.Indeed overallsustainable development cannot be achieved withouta robust evidenced-basedand implementablegender policies and programmes.Gender policiesand plansin the agricultural sector in Ghana aim generally at promotinggender equality andmainstreaminggender inthe sector.
National, sub-national and sectoral policies,strategies,plans, programmes and projects say virtually the same things with regards to gender.The most comprehensive strategy to address the many issues of gender in agriculturein Ghana isthe Gender and Agriculture Development Strategy (GADS),developedin 2001 and revised in 2015.Intentions, policies, plans, programmes and projects to tackle the many problems with gender in agriculture have never been in short supply.What is clearly in short supply is evidence of implementation, and result of what we say and write about.
Gender policies in the agriculturalwatersector
The Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing (MWRWH) is the lead governing institution responsible forwater in Ghana.The Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA) under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA)is however responsiblefor the development of the country's water resources forirrigation, livestockwatering andfishculture in irrigation ponds and dams.The Ghana Water Policy, by the MWRWH, has a section on water for food security but does not specifically address gender issues.The Ghana Irrigation Policy however addresses gender quite comprehensively underan aim to “removeimbalancesbetweenownership rights, divisionoflabourandincomes” in irrigation.As a step to actualizing that GIDA has imposed a minimum of 30% irrigated land allocation to women in all its projects.
Gender policies in irrigation (1/3)
Some of the “strategic actions” of the gender component of the irrigation policy include:Mainstream gender issues throughout projectcycles.Addressland tenure problems, especially with respect towomen.Assistdisadvantaged groups to participate fully in project cycleand benefits.Ensureequitable access to irrigation services bywomen.Ensurefull participation in WUA/Cooperatives activities and leadership by womenand disadvantaged groups.TrainNGOs in genderissues.Adoptdownstream level control on shared distributionsystems.Question is: Are all these meant to meet some “triggers” or does GIDA actually believe in doing all these within the plan period?
Gender policies in irrigation (2/3)
Prior to this 2011 policy Ghana has “beenwithouta consistentand comprehensive policy to guide its irrigation development andexpansion”.(Foreword to the Policy)Irrigation has however been consistently mentioned in Ghana’s agricultural policies, strategies, plans, programmes and projects.None of those however tackle gender issues in irrigation.Implementation of the irrigation policies and strategies as stated has been generally inadequate.We are all aware that the policy for irrigation development of the Accra Plains, theTamneBasin in the Upper East and several others had been on the drawing board since the first republic.
Gender policies in irrigation (3/3)
Also untilthe current policy,very little attention was given to informal irrigation even though it is the most important in terms of agricultural output to date.The different gender roles in the informal irrigation value chain has been very significant; men, women, the youth and even children have defined roles in informal irrigation in several places.The roles however differ markedly from place toplace.If earlier policies in irrigation had considered informal irrigation, gender issues would have arisen and we would have understood the issues better than we know them now.METASIP did mention micro- and small scale irrigation but what to do about them was not clear and very little actually happened.
Why are there gaps between gender policies and implementation?
Generic reasons:As in many other situations, interventions in irrigation started wrongly. The aim was to replace what was in place rather than to “better” them.The elitist nature of our education has resulted in urban elite making policies and planning for rural areas they have no knowledge of and do not wish to have any knowledge of.Partly because of thelimited knowledgeof policy makers andplanners,the policies formulated are more tailored to meeting donor requirements and “donor generated indicators”thansolving problems on the ground.There is always a rush to show non-existent results.
Why Gaps? – Generic reasons (cont.)
Even withrespecttoimplementation,some DPsinsistson strategiestheyclaim have beensuccessful somewhereelse even when evidence shows that they are not applicable.Manypolicies and plansare based onshort-term “efficiency and productivity theories”whichare clearly unsustainable even in the medium term.Efficiency and productivity are important but only subject to sustainable production and distribution. I am yet to see anyDP indicator(s)of sustainableagricultural productionanddistribution.There has been too much “guinea pigging” byDPs and donors who seem to be more interested in tryingelegant sounding theories that mean nothing inpractice.There are hardly viable institutions to implement policies or viable processes ofimplementation.
Why Gaps between policy and implementation? – Specific reasons
Irrigation is more of business than rain-fed agriculture and as such it is very competitive in terms of resources; and most rural women are less able to compete.Some policiesthoughimportant fail to addressunderlyingpower differences(betweenmen and womenand especially among men and women – e.g. 30% irrigated land allocation)Too much hard labor is demanded within a very short period of time.It adds to the already heavy work burden of rural women.Risks can be very high and women are naturally more risk averse.In many places women specialize in the marketing part of the irrigation value chain and that seems not to be the concern of policy.
Consequences of the gaps between policy and implementation
There is growing confusion as to what is expected of different gender in irrigation;In one breath there is talk of different gender roles and in another we insist on all gender having the same roles.Why can’t women stay only as marketers if they think that is what they want to do?Implementers concentrate in trying to please DPs, policy makers and politicians and not to mainstream gender; to the detriment of irrigators who are barely trying to survive.Irrigators (men and women) see the insincerity of implementers and become even more skeptical of their intentions and policy intentions.More realistic intentions are viewed with suspicion given what has happened in the past.
Policy to Practice Recommendations (1/2)
Let us believe in the “Plug-in principle” (see next slide).We know too little about gender relations in communities and our attempts to superimpose what we think is “better knowledge” without a good understanding of what is on the ground will always result in failure.Policies, strategies, plans must address the HOW.Sustainable agricultural policies, strategies, plans, programmes and projects cannot be short or even medium term. 4 to 5 years can hardly result in any serious achievement. 10-year and above plans are more realistic.
Activities of farmers, marketers, processors etc. (using mainly IK)
Plug-in by“bettering”agents (mainly SK)
Amalgam of IK and intervention (SK)
Illustration of the “Plug-in”Principle
Policy to Practice Recommendations (questions)
There isneed to asksome basicquestions; and they apply not only to gender inirrigation and agriculturebut to many other areas:Dothose of us who research, make policies, develop plans, programmes and projects really believe in what we say and do?Dowe believe that what we say and write is possible and probable?Dowe think the time lines we give for our researches, plans and programmes can achieve what we say and write?
Policy to Practice Recommendations (questions)
Do we believe the methods we propose to get the policies, plans, programmes and projects implemented are reasonable or based on realistic expectations?Do the people who are expected to implement the lofty ideals know what we are talking about and have the capacity to implement them?Are implementers likely to get resources to implement what we are talking and writing about?If all these questions can be answered in the positive, then policy will lead to practice, if not we will continue to deceive ourselves and everybody else.
Thank you for your attention and God bless you all