A report on gender budgeting has recommended that the regulation implementing with the Minerals Development Fund (MDF Act) should prescribe a criterion for gender-responsive budgeting for fund administrators at the district assemblies and the Local Management Committee (LMC) levels to ensure that use of royalty is informed by evidence-based gender-sensitive development planning and budgeting.
It said such regulations should create revolving funds to address the specific economic needs of women in agriculture and trade.
During a virtual launch of the report, a Policy Analyst at the African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), a policy think tank, Mr Charles Gyamfi Ofori, said the research identified sustainable agriculture and access to capital for trading purposes as the recurring needs of women in the mining districts.
“On agriculture, the MDF should provide access to credit for farm inputs and services such as fertilisers, seedlings and tractor services that women can access and pay back after their harvest.”
“In terms of trade, the fund should provide access to credit facilities required for small-scale businesses in mining communities,” he said.
Gender disparity is deemed a general problem in Ghana that could be addressed by implementing gender-responsive budgeting at the national and sub-national levels.
Consequently, the research on “Promoting Gender Budgeting: The Case of Mineral Royalty Utilisation in Ghana,” was conducted in three mining districts, namely Asutifi North, Prestea Huni-Valley Municipality and the Talensi District.
OXFAM International Ghana and the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) provided technical and funding support for the study that sought to examine: the extent to which local-level MDF use is informed by community needs; the specific needs of women in mining communities; the extent to which royalty expenditure meets the identified needs of women; and the extent to which women’s participation in key development planning and decision making ensures that their needs are met.
It emerged that the majority of women in the three districts were employed in agriculture (peasant crop farmers), with the figure at 48, 46 and 45 per cent in Talensi, Asutifi North and Prestea Huni-Valley correspondingly.
They face challenges in issues of security of land tenure and access to farmlands, access to capital and agricultural support services and access to markets, storage and processing facilities.
Access to capital for farm expansion, subsidised fertilisers, seeds and farm equipment to improve farming practices were found to be priorities for the women farmers, many of whom are unable to pay for the government-subsidised fertiliser which is to be paid upfront.
They would prefer that government supplies the subsidised fertilisers on credit and allows them to pay after the cropping season with earnings from their harvest.
A proposed role of the MDF would be for the LMC to provide access to the needed inputs and services on credit to support women farmers.
The Executive Director of ACEP, Mr Ben Boakye, expressed appreciation to all who made an input to the research and said the essence of the report was to recognise that mining creates impacts.
The West Africa Regional Manager (Anglophone) at the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), Ms Nafi Chinery, said as highlighted in the research, mineral royalties were important source of revenue to national and sub-national government in mining affected communities.