Erratic rainfall is bane of poor production in Upper East – Woyongo

Mr Mark Woyongo, Upper East Regional Minister has noted that the region’s over-dependence on local farming tools, poor marketing network, coupled with erratic rainfall pattern makes agriculture less lucrative, despite huge investments in the sector.

He said government had initiated measures and programmes to support the concept of Farmer Based Organisations (FBOs) to enhance accelerated agriculture growth and enable members to access credit from financial institutions to purchase farm inputs.

Mr Woyongo made the observation during the regional celebration at Paga in the Kassena Nankana West District on the theme: “Growing more food- strengthening farmer based organisation for market place bargaining power.”

He said government in its bid to modernise agriculture and enhance food security had introduced the Block Farming Programme, a component of the Youth in Agriculture programme to promote the production of some selected crops, in order to create jobs for the youth and improve food security.

“Under the 2012 Block Farming programme, the region achieved 1,100 hectares of rice, 2,750 hectares of maize and 140 hectares of soya beans,” he said.

Mr Woyongo said the programme had employed more than 6,000 farmers, comprising 3,700 males and 2,300 females.

During the 2012 major cropping season, the region took delivery of 315,000 bags of fertilisers under the Fertilizer Subsidy Programme through authorized and licensed input dealers.

He said under the Northern Rural Growth Programme, the region cultivated about 1,000 hectares of maize and soya beans, with a total number of 130 farmer groups engaged.

Mr Cletus Achaab, Regional Director of Agriculture, commended government for its support in the agricultural sector since it is the backbone of the economy and contributes more than 32 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

Mr Thomas Addah Dalu, District Chief Executive said agriculture is a vital tool for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and eliminates extreme poverty and hunger.

“Agriculture contributes to development as an economic activity since it can be a source of growth for the national economy by providing investment opportunities for the private sector and a prime driver of agriculture-related industries,” he said.

He appealed to the people of the area to continuously practice good personal hygiene and maintain a clean environment by weeding around their dwellings, saying “a clean environment enhances good health and lead to increase in economic production”.

Mr Awintoma Akande, a 40 -year old farmer from Tilli, in the Bawku West District, and 2010 National Best Millet Farmer was adjourned the Regional Best farmer.

Source: GNA

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