Minister tours dry season farms in Upper East
The Upper East Regional Minister, Mr. Mark Woyongo, has toured some dry season farms in the region to acquaint himself with on-going farming activities in the area.
The region last year cultivated some food crops which agricultural experts put as one of the best crop seasons for the region in recent times.
The trip was also a follow up to projects government has initiated as part of policies to open up the area following the intended implementation of Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) in the region.
Among the places Mr. Woyongo visited were the Ministry of Food Agricultural (MOFA) warehouse in Bolgatanga where 5,048 foundation seedlings are being prepared for farmers to nurse and transplant.
Briefing the Minister the Regional Plant Protection and Regulatory Service Officer at MOFA, Mr. Sylvester Logo, said if the preparations of the seeds go well, about 10,000 bags would be realized to be transplanted on about 132.4 hectares of land.
Mr. Logo said his outfit’s expended seed production report for 2009 for the Upper East Region indicates that 171 farmers grew rice on 240 hectares of land which is expected to yield about 24,725 mini bags or approximately 989 tones.
He said these were positive improvements but added that there are a few challenges that are militating against the industry.
These are the provision of appropriate means of transport to enhance the inspection of farm lands and that the rehabilitation of the seed warehouse would enhance seed cleaning, testing and general seed certification works.
The Acting Regional Director of MOFA, Alhaji Abdul Razak Ziblim Salifu, said during the dry season farmers are able to cultivate between 3,000-4,000 hectares to produce vegetables including onions, tomatoes, pepper and garden eggs.
Addressing farmers on some of the farms at Pwalugu Mr. Woyongo said farmers were the backbone of the country’s growth and that government was putting measures to address some of the challenges farmers in the country face.
He urged the farmers to join associations such as the Pwalugu Tomatoes Farmers Association to give them a strong mouthpiece to negotiate on prices with buyers.
Mr Woyongo said MOFA had taken delivery of water pumping machines for dry season farming adding and being a member would give farmers the opportunity to access it.
The chairman for the Pwalugu Tomatoes Farmers Association, Mr. Samuel Abora, appealed to government to help the association repay a 560 million cedis loan it secured from the Agricultural Development Bank.