The Ministry of Trade, Industries, Private Sector Development and Presidential Special Initiatives (PSI), is to establish Export Trade Houses (ETHs) in some parts of the country to purchase agricultural produce for export.
The measure would help solve marketing problems facing farmers and ensure prompt payment for their produce to maximise profit and increase production.
Mr Kwadwo Asiedu-Afram, a Deputy Minister in-charge of Trade and Industries, announced this at the inauguration of a 90-member Kwahu-Praso Zone of the Young Farmers Club of the Agricultural Producers Council (APC) at Kwahu-Praso in the Kwahu South District of the Eastern Region.
He explained that the Export Trade Houses, like brokerage houses, would pay farmers the appropriate prices and offered ready market for their produce to avoid cheating by middle-men who paid low prices which made farmers incurred heavy losses after harvesting their produce.
The Deputy Minister advised the Club to access financial assistance from the 10-billion-cedi National Youth Fund (NYF) to expand their farms and cultivate cash crops like cocoa and others under the PSI.
Mr Asiedu-Afram said Government had established measures to create a conducive environment for the 26 per cent youth population in the country and urged them to take advantage of the NYF, PSI and the Skill Training and Employment Placement (STEP) programme. He urged the youth to produce export crops to take advantage of the US African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) programme.
Mr Samuel Ohene Kunto, Secretary General of APC, advised the youth to abstain from pre-marital and indiscriminate sex to avoid contracting HIV/AIDS, saying this would enable the Government channel more funds spent on the HIV menace to support youth in farming and employment activities. He advised youth in the area to join the Club for financial assistance to expand their farms.
Mr John Nketia Gyamfi, Kwahu South District Director of Agriculture, said 300 farming groups within the district had benefited from 187 million cedis worth of farming inputs that enabled them to increase foodstuff, vegetable and livestock production.
Mr Michael Amoah, Chairman of the Club, said they cultivated eight acres of maize, cassava and plantain at Asikuma, near Kwahu-Praso this year, and would cultivate a 40-acre land during the next farming season at Dwerebease and appealed for financial assistance and means of transport.
Mr Asideu-Afram and Nana Adakwa Boadi Yiadom, Chief of Kwahu-Praso, jointly inaugurated a 11-member executive for the zone with Nana Ofori as Chairman, Mr Yaw Mark, Secretary and Nana Afum Adane as Farm Manager.