The Minister for Food and Agriculture, Ernest Akubour Debrah has reiterated that his outfit does not directly offer loans and credit facilities to farmers.
Answering questions on the floor of Parliament yesterday, he stated that, as a policy, the Ministry does not deliver loans and credit facilities directly to farmers, saying that in all the Projects his outfit undertakes, they try to encourage Donors to include Credit Components to assist farmers one way or the other, hence most projects embarked upon by his Ministry in collaboration with donor agencies have Credit Components but these credits are administered through the Banks, mainly Agricultural Development Bank.
Asked to provide data on funds disbursed and recovered so far with specific reference to the Ejura/Sekyedumasi District since 2002, he said the Ministry is in the process of collating the necessary data from ADB and would be made available as soon as practicable.
In answer to a question from Alban S K Bagbin (NDC-Nadowli West) as to the current status of the Local Guinea Fowl Project as provided in the 2006 budget for the Ministry, Mr Debrah indicated that as a policy, the Ministry tries to formulate and test all projects before implementation, hence in 2005, a feasibility study on the Guinea Fowl Project was instituted and a project concept was developed. The project concept has therefore been given to a consultant, who has been tasked to have a full project developed by the end of August this year.
He disclosed that as part of measures to ensure that the project is sustained, training of Agricultural Extension Agents, Agricultural Development officers and Veterinary officers in Guinea Fowl production started last year.
The Minister hinted that, the pilot phase of the projects is expected to start this year with the hatching of Guinea chicks by farmers in the Northern, Upper East and West Regions. "As the population of the Guinea Fowl increases, accompanied with increase in the production of Guinea fowl eggs, the Ministry will then facilitate the establishment of hatcheries in other areas," he added.
The Ministry plans to expand the pilot project into full projects to serve the 3 regions and other Regions in the Country as soon as the pilot phase is over.