Tamale, Tuesday June 19th 2012: His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, the Vice-President, a few days ago, launched a twenty-four million Ghana cedis worth of agricultural inputs to boost agriculture and farmers incomes in the 5 regions covered by SADA.
The high-point of the program is the deployment of 100 tractors to provide speedy access to ploughing and harrowing for some 16,000 farmers throughout the SADA zone. The Vice-President noted that Government will bring back the good old days of increased jobs and productivity in agriculture, and ensure that real jobs are created for unemployed youth, in a manner that will bring lasting peace and prosperity to the northern savannah.
On the new tractors being made available for the program, the Vice-President stressed the need to manage these equipment well, and for SADA to craft a system that will allow ordinary farmers to be the real owners and managers of the asset, so that they will become modern managers of farm enterprises, graduating from being subsistence farmers.
Addressing the launching ceremony, Alhaji Gilbert Iddi, Chief Executive Officer of SADA, announced that SADA has embarked on an accelerated program of agricultural modernization that will transform production, productivity and asset creation among millions of small-holder farmers in the northern savannah zone. In 2011, SADA disbursed over 5 million Ghana cedis to support 6,000 farmers who lost their livelihoods during the floods of 2010. This support has now been increased to 16,000 farmers.
Alhaji Iddi noted that the package for farmers include tractor services, improved seeds (maize and soya), fertilizer, agro-chemicals and a sustained package of training on improved farming methods, appropriate farm management and harvesting as well as post-harvest marketing. These improved techniques and technology will be facilitated by over 20 private sector and NGO agri-business groups serving all districts in the SADA zone.
Hon. Moses Magbenga, Northern Regional Minister said Im delighted that Government is playing its part to increase prosperity and create jobs&this will solve the perennial conflicts and keep unemployed youth busy. These conflicts are generally about poverty and land; agricultural modernization will maximise the use of land and create wealth, two crucial solutions to the conflict situation, he emphasized.
Commenting on the agricultural inputs, a farmer who is part of the delegation of farmers said we can feel our lives changing already&we have hope as we approach this seasons farming; a farmer needs hope, the rest is our own sweat. Chairman of SADA, Mr. Andani Alhassan stressed that SADA exists to bring prosperity and allow people of the SADA zone to join Ghanas movement into a middle-income country. The beginning of this journey is to be able to feed the nation, and quickly reverse the importation of feed, buy being a net exporter.
Present at the ceremony were chiefs, all regional Ministers from the SADA zone comprising Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Volta and Brong Ahafo regions; DCEs, farmers groups, private sector and NGO agri-business operators and key Ministries, especially Chief Director and Regional Directors of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
SADA works with and through MoFA and the Regional Coordinating Councils of the 5 SADA zone regions to deliver all its agricultural programs.