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29.11.2003 Regional News

Implement third phase of rubber out growers scheme - ROAA

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Sekondi, Nov 29, GNA - The Rubber Out growers and Agents Association (ROAA) on Friday, petitioned the government to implement the third phase of the Rubber Out growers Scheme when the second phase ends in 2005.

Nana Asaa Kofi III, Chairman of the Association, was speaking when he presented a petition to Madam Sophia Horner-Sam, Deputy Western Regional Minister, in Sekondi.

Nana Kofi who is also the Chief of Kyekyewere, in the Wassa West District, said the implementation of the third phase would make it possible to bring in many farmers who had shown interest in the scheme to expand the cultivation of rubber.

He said the third phase would also enable rubber out growers to have access to funds to sustain their farms.

According to him the Rubber Out growers Plantation Project set a ceiling of 500 farmers to be selected over a three-year period to participate in the second phase of the scheme to cultivate 2,800 hectares.

Nana Kofi said the target was met in June this year and the selected farmers are seriously engaged in cultivation.

He said about 1,000 more farmers in the six rubber growing districts of the Western Region have applied to join the scheme but could not be absorbed under the second phase.

Nana Kofi said the districts were Ahanta West, Jomoro, Mpohor Wassa East, Wasa Amenfi, Wassa West and Nzema East.

He said farmers who planted rubber from 2001 would not be able to tap their trees before the scheme ends in 2005 because rubber trees take seven years to mature.

Nana Kofi pointed out that if the third phase were not implemented, the affected farmers would not be able to obtain financial support for the maintenance of their farms and inputs such as fertilizer and pesticides.

He said rubber cultivation was profitable and could help alleviate rural poverty and proposed to the government to include rubber cultivation in the President's Special Initiatives.

Madam Horner-Sam promised to forward the petition to the appropriate quarters for action and assured the Association that it would receive answer within the shortest possible time.

She said rubber cultivation was one of the main economic ventures, which have contributed to the development of the region and the country.

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