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24.03.2009 Politics

Mark Woyongo urges chiefs to release land for agriculture


Mr Mark Woyongo, Upper East Regional Minister, on Monday began a tour to pay homage to paramount chiefs in the Region and called on the chiefs to release land to farmers to support government's determination to make agriculture a prime mover of the Region's economy.

He said government was serious about getting the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) project implemented as soon as practicable and would soon make available about 200 tractors being assembled in Kumasi.

Mr Woyongo explained that the tractors would be sold to individuals and co-operatives with an initial deposit of about 50 per cent of the total cost of 8,000 Ghana cedis while the rest would be paid in instalments over a period.

The Regional Minister said as part of measures to accelerate the agricultural development plan in the Region, government would soon come out with a plan to rehabilitate about 220 dams and dug outs to support all-year round farming.

He said the defunct Farmers Services Company (FASCOM) would be revived to take a new look and storage containers belonging to the company in the Region which had been abandoned several decades and deteriorated would be rehabilitated to continue to serve as stores for farm inputs such as fertilizers to be made accessible to farmers at reduced cost.

Mr Woyongo said plans were far advanced to invite investors from Thailand well versed in rice farming and production to inject huge capital into the Fumbisi valleys in the Builsa District to accelerate the Region's economy to reduce poverty among the people.

He reminded the chiefs that all these plans would only succeed when the chiefs played the vital role in the release of land that remained a key component in ensuring a sustained and successful agricultural programme.

Mr Woyongo said the ability of chiefs to maintain peace and harmony in their traditional areas for development was paramount because, no investor would invest in a chaotic area.

He commended Mr Alexis Atampugre Azantilow, Regent of Builsa Traditional Area, Pe Charles Awia Awampaga, Paramount Chief of Paga Traditional Area, and Pe Oscar Batabi Tiyiamo, Paramount Chief of Kayoro, for their exemplary leadership in maintaining peace in their traditional areas.

The Chiefs pledged their support for Mr Woyongo to discharge his duties with success, and gave the assurance that they would continue to maintain peace in their areas.

Mr Woyongo assured Paramount Chief of Kayoro that immediate steps would be taken to ensure the contractor working on the road from Katiu junction to Kayoro currently in a deplorable state, resumed work immediately.

On the construction of a road to link Kayoro and Paga, Kassena-Nankana West District capital, he noted that even it was included in this year's budget efforts would be made to complete it before the four-year tenure of office of the government.

He assured the Regent of Sandema that tarring of the road from Chuchuliga to Sandema Township was long overdue and even though the contractor had abandoned the project it would be reviewed.

Mr Woyongo reiterated the need for the people to co-habit peacefully and keep the peace in Bawku.

The Paga Pio called on government to respect the 1992 Constitution by considering the input of traditional authorities in the appointment of assembly members and District Chief Executives.

He said traditional authorities' contributions were vital in local government because "we are with the people and appreciate better their worth in the communities".