For some years, Coalition for Change has been working with groups of women farmers in the arid Upper West Region which has an eight month dry season. The groups have received advice on crops and harvesting but their disadvantage is that they are unable to hire a tractor when needed, particularly early in the very short season in which ploughing and sowing is feasible. Tractors which are available are used first by relatively affluent farm owners, then by male groups of villagers to do independent farming and finally become available to the women’s groups. Being last, the women’s crops have least time in which to mature. C4C saw that if it could obtain a tractor, garage it and maintain it, then provide a driver and mechanic to take it on a planned tour of women’s groups who wished to hire a ploughing service, the women’s groups would have a chance to produce food and to have surplus for sale. Ghana Outlook agreed and, with the support of the Rotary Clubs of Stainborough and Scarborough Cavaliers, sourced a suitable low-tech tractor in the UK and purchased it at £6500. The Christian Africa Relief Trust (CART) then shipped it to Ghana in one of their regular containers of humanitarian aid, for C4C to collect and use. The tractor commenced service in May 2016 and was able to do the ploughing for seven women’s groups before the onset of the dry season. The initial deployment has enabled costs to be more closely identified, operation problems overcome and next year’s deployments have been planned with more certainty. The project is already proving successful; 28 women’s groups wish to participate in 2017, operation costs were 70% recovered through affordable payments made by the women’s groups.
Ghana Outlook plans to help fund the shortfall between outgoings and receipts for this project whilst needed over the early years.