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12.12.2007 General News

Twenty-Four farmers honoured at Farmers’ Day celebration


Twenty-Four farmers were presented with awards at the 19th Shama-Ahanta East Metropolitan Farmers' Day at Mpintsin near Takoradi at the weekend.

Maame Efua Akyereba, 52, of Shama Junction was adjudged the Metropolitan best farmer.

She was presented with a 21-inch colour television ser; one sewing machine; one radio/cassette player; two full pieces of wax print; 10 bags of cement; five pairs of Wellington boots; 10 machetes; three hoes and a mobile phone donated by Tigo.

Miss Agnes Mensah, 37, also of Shama Junction won the prize for the best plantain farmer while Miss Rejoice Duadoke of Bronikrom, picked the prize for the best cassava farmer.

The other prize winners included Mr Kobla Galley Agbodzi, 42, of Daboase Junction, best oil palm farmer; Mr Kwamena Ackon, 37, and Miss Felicia Manu, 42, Anto, best vegetable farmers.

The prizes included sound systems, Wellington boots, wax prints and mobile phones.

In an address, Mr Philip Kwesi Nkrumah, Metropolitan Chief Executive, said efforts of the government to address the challenge of limited financial services to the food and agriculture sector were being seriously thwarted by some fishermen, agro-processors and other operators in the sector.

He said several agricultural projects have provided credit to operators in the sector over the years but most beneficiaries of these schemes have failed to repay their loans.

Mr Nkrumah said this has made it impossible for other operators to benefit from these schemes and some development partners have suspended on lending of production credit to farmers because of the unacceptably high rate of loan repayment default.

He appealed to all beneficiaries of agricultural loans to repay them to enable the various project activities to continue.

Mr Nkrumah said the Youth in Agriculture component of the National Youth Employment Programme is aimed at encouraging and supporting the youth to go into agriculture.

He said in the Metropolis, out of a total of 1,002 youth registered for the programme, 185 of them were supported to the tune of 304 million cedis in their chosen areas of agriculture.

Mr Nkrumah said the three main areas engaged were poultry/livestock production, grass cutter rearing and vegetable production.

Mr Charles Adams, the Metropolitan Director of Food and Agriculture, said the Metropolis should focus on urban and peri-urban agriculture.

Mr Adams said an aspect of urban and peri-urban exotic vegetable cultivation that needed attention was the use of unsafe water for vegetable irrigation.

He said this resulted in the production of unwholesome vegetables, a lot of which were consumed raw or in the uncooked state, resulting sometimes in food poisoning.

Mr Adams said the provision of safe irrigation water for urban/per-urban farming was, therefore, critical.

Mr Horatio Bruce, Assemblyman for Mpintsin, appealed to the Waste Management Department of the Shama-Ahanta East Metropolitan Assembly (SAEMA) to relocate the solid waste dumping site at Mpintsin because it was causing malaria infection and other diseases in the area.

He urged Chiefs and Unite Committees to initiate clean-up exercises in their communities as the Ghana 2008 Africa Cup Nations was approaching.