Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Foundation Assists Women In Agriculture

A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) that aims at empowering farmers in rural agriculture has been launched in Accra.Known as the Periyer Africa Foundation (PAF), the organisation, which has its headquarters in India, seeks to invest mainly in women engaged in subsistence farming and reduce poverty through strategic investment. The ultimate aim of the organisation is to empower women and work towards eradicating all forms of gender discrimination against women to enable them to be self-reliant and with a right to inheritance.

It will educate the beneficiaries on best farming practices in order to increase yield and improve productivity.

Beneficiary groups will be assisted with high-yielding seeds and parcels of land to support their rural farming businesses and link them up with ready market in high demand countries.

Speaking at an event to officially launch the NGO in Ghana, its Secretary, Saalai Manikam, said the initiative had lifted the lives of millions of India’s rural poor from the poverty bracket and was looking forward to a fruitful support to positively impact on the Ghanaian community.

The launch coincided with the 134th birthday of its founder, Periyer Ramasamy, who is credited with pioneering ideas that have triggered social reforms leading to the removal of discrimination of all forms between socially under-privileged persons and other sections of the society.

She said the choice of Ghana for the start of the project in Africa, which will be replicated in other African countries, was informed by the positive business climate and the promise rural business held in the country.

She said the core target of the project would be women because they were central to national development. “With our operations back in India, it has emerged that any self-help initiative that targets women eventually affects the lives of all other members of the society and poverty levels are reduced drastically,” she said.

The NGO has already secured large tracts of land in the Ashanti Region to begin with the agricultural support model soon.

The India High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr Rajinder Bhagat, who was the guest of honour, unveiled the PAF logo and the portrait of Periyer and expressed the hope that the initiative would be supported to feed into his country’s bigger initiative of assisting Ghana to end poverty through capital investment.

The President of PAF, K.C Ezhilarasen, said the organisation would be funded from a nucleus fund created through the tireless efforts of Periyer.

He said some of the activities that the organisation would embark upon were partly financed by charging subsidised rates, using the concept of cross-subsidisation.

“Borrowing on large scale from public financial institutions has been one of the main sources of funding. Promptly servicing the loans, has made the institutions willing to supply the required funds as loans for major and minor projects, with the institutions ensuring the proper utilisation of such loans,” he said.

Source: Daily Graphic
Original Article Here

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