Non-timber_forest_products_farming_and_e.pdf - Environ Dev Sustain(2011 13:863\u2013878 DOI 10.1007\/s10668-011-9295-7 Non-timber forest products farming

Non-timber_forest_products_farming_and_e.pdf - Environ Dev...

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Non-timber forest products farming and empowerment of rural women in Ghana Albert Ahenkan · Emmanuel Boon Received: 27 October 2010 / Accepted: 8 March 2011/ / Published online: 13 April 2011 © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011 Abstract United Nations estimates indicate that up to 70% of the world’s poor are female, and women in developing countries constitute the majority of the labour force, playing a key role in managing community resources and helping to improve food security and protect the environment. Increased attention in recent years has been focused on the potential role of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) in improving the incomes and health of women in developing countries. NTFPs farming and marketing are very critical for the economic empowerment of rural poor, particularly women. Despite this potential, the contribution of NTFPs farming to the empowerment of women remains largely under- valued and understudied. This paper examines the potential contribution of NTFPs farming in poverty reduction and livelihood improvement of women in Ghana using the Sefwi Wiawso District (SWD) and Bibiani-Bekwai District (BBD) in the Western Region of Ghana as a case study. The paper explores the contribution of NTFPs farming to the total annual income, acquisition of assets, health, and food security of women through partic- ipatory research methods. ANOVA and Pearson Correlation ( p \ 0.05) show that a significant association exists between total annual income of women, acquisition of assets, health, food security, and the income earned from NTFPs in the SWD and BBD. The study revealed that NTFPs can contribute significantly to the economic empowerment of women. The paper asserts that commercialisation of NTFPs will have a greater impact on women’s livelihoods and therefore any opportunity for increasing their involvement is very essential for the empowerment and sustainable development of rural communities in Ghana. Keywords Economic empowerment · Employment · Food security · Income · Non-timber forest products · Poverty reduction Readers should send their comments on this paper to [email protected] within 3 months of publication of this issue. A. Ahenkan ( & ) · E. Boon Human Ecology Department, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussel, Belgium e-mail: [email protected] E. Boon e-mail: [email protected] 123 Environ Dev Sustain (2011) 13:863–878 DOI 10.1007/s10668-011-9295-7
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1 Introduction Never in the history of mankind has greater attention been accorded the issues affecting women and their empowerment. Despite many international agreements affirming their human rights, women are still much more likely than men to be poor (UNFPA 2010 ). United Nations estimates indicate that up to 70% of the world’s poor are women, and in the developing countries they constitute the majority of the labour force, playing key roles in managing community resources and helping to improve food security and protect the environment (UNEP 2006 ; UN 2009 ). Gender equality and women’s empowerment is central to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and sustainable development (UNDP 2010
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