The network for Women’s Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT) has appealed to the Government to release part of the concession of Ada Songor Lagoon to the community to curb communal violence and resistance.
NETRIGHT, a non-governmental organization, noted that the current capitalist takeover threatened the livelihoods of women who had been marginally incorporated into the Electrochem Ghana Limited activities.
It further asked the Government to resolve tension in the customary ownership of the lagoon through a transparent process that centered on community development and aspirations.
Dr. Gertrude Dzifa Torvikey, a Research Fellow of the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), made the recommendations at a NETRIGHT and Third World Network (TWN) Africa Power of Voices Project round table discussions in Accra.
The meeting was themed: “Inclusive Development in Ghana’s Extractive Sector.” The occasion was used to outdoor NETRIGHT and TWN Africa Research dubbed: “Contestation and Resistance: The Struggle of Women in Light of Capitalist Takeover of Salt Production in Ada Songor.”
Discussants at the meeting delved into topics such as: “From Policy to Practice: Unpacking African the African Mining Vision from a Gender Perspective:
“Contestation and Resistance: Salt Production in the Ada Songor Lagoon Area and “Gender Dynamics in Extractives Value Chains: Policy Gaps, Challenges, and Prospects.”
Women form the minority of the workforce and are exposed to environmental and economic hazards. Female composition in the extractive sector namely, the petroleum sector is eight percent, while 14 percent are in gold and diamond mining and 20 percent in salt mining and winning.
Salt mining has been a source of livelihood for rural women, especially in Ghana’s coastal areas. Salt is a vital ingredient in food preparation and preservation and could contribute significantly to Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product.
Dr. Torvikey who is also a consultant stressed the need for Ghana to return to its commitment to the African Mining Vision framework.
Dr. Torvikey, who was one of the researchers who undertook research work on the Contestation and Resistance: Salt production in the Ada Songor Lagoon Area, last year, recounted that Artisanal Salt Mining was been marginalized.
Dr. Torvikey noted that the key issues with the business Plan of Electrochem Ghana Limited (EGL) promoted the monopolization of salt in Ada by the private sector and priority was only given to natives for only unskilled labor jobs.
According to her, the plan also sought to encourage relocation and dislocation of communities, adding that the EGL takeover had ignited new contestation and old disputes among the people of Ada.
Dr. Torvikey has therefore called for sustained advocacy around salt mining for the development of the economy as well as a renewed engagement around the Master Plan of Salt Development in salt mining communities.
According to the Research Fellow, Ghana’s 500 km Coastal front was interspersed with lagoons for salt production and Ghana was producing 250,000 metric tonnes per year. She said Ghana could produce eight times more salt.
She noted the women constituted a larger population in the salt-winning business, but they were being denied their livelihood.
Madam Pauline Vande-Pallen, Programmes Officer, TWN Africa, noted that the Africa Mining Vision, adopted by heads of State in 2009, was not gender-responsive.
Madam Vande-Pallen said it was therefore important that countries explored the Africa Mining Vision to integrate mining much better into development policies at local, national, and regional levels with much focus on gender issues.
Madam Patricia Blankson Akakpo, Head of NETRIGHT Secretariat, said the roundtable sought to bring together actors in the extractive sector to discuss gender gaps in policies and legislation regulating the sector.
According to Madam Akakpo, discussants would also delve into challenges facing artisanal small-scale miners and various implications on their livelihood.
“We would propose recommendation to inform advocacy to interventions to promote gender transformative reforms in the extractive sector,” she added.
The meeting brought together government officials, policymakers from Ministries and Agencies, mining unions, Civil Society Organisations, and the Media.