Eking a living: Women entrepreneurship and poverty reduction strategies: The case of palm kernel oil processing in the Central Region of Ghana
In the previous four decades there have been changes in both the structure of, and employment opportunities in, Ghana's economy. Responding to the conditions, women have become involved in various economic activities, including the processing of agricultural products. Using the livelihood concept, the paper examines the conditions of women involved in palm kernel oil processing as they eke a living in the face of poverty. Based on a survey of 185 women in two districts in the Central Region of Ghana, the authors analyse the women's entry into the trade, working conditions and earnings. The labour-intensive activity is characterized by low capital outlay, irregular supply of inputs and long working hours. However, the women earn very little due to poor marketing strategies, lack of linkages with the modern economy, and lack of support. These factors make the women vulnerable to external environmental shocks. Nonetheless, the work provides them with some personal income, which is important for self-esteem. Such women are at the margins of survival and represent one of the faces of poverty in the country, yet do not appear in any national accounting system.