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21.04.2004 Regional News

Farmers to enjoy tractor services

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Techiman (B/A), April 21, GNA- The government would soon provide tractor services for interested farmer groups and individual farmers willing to pay for the cost of the services through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

Mr. Richard A. Dartey, Deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Director of the Ministry announced this at the inauguration of an electronic-commerce and agricultural information centre in Techiman. He explained that those interested would make a 50 percent down payment of the overall cost and the remaining cost spread over three years.

The centre was as a result of a partnership between MOFA and the International Institute for Communication and Development based in the Netherlands.

The aim is to provide access to web-based marketing information services to small producers and traders as well as the export of Ghanaian agricultural non-traditional products.

Mr. Dartey said the facility, which would be in operation in September this year would assist other farmers in land preparation for a minimal fee.

He commended the Municipal Assembly for providing office accommodation and furniture.

Mr. Edward Addo-Danquah, Project Manager of E-Commerce for the project, noted that with the establishment of the District Information Centres, farmers would have access to develop database on selected non-traditional agricultural exports.

He said the centre would help promote and increase market transparency, exports in the local regional and global market and bring together critical marketing information on supply and demand at the local level.

The Agriculture Information Centre is an access point for agric information and a place where everybody, especially farmers, would get information on farming and marketing, among others, the Project Manager added.

The Techiman Municipal Chief Executive, Mr. Isaac Osei-Antwi, said he was impressed that Techiman was selected for the project, which he added would enhance the technological development in the sale of farmers produce.

Benefits to be derived from the project were enormous, he said and called on farmers, traders and businessmen to patronise the centre to achieve maximum results.

Mr Osei-Antwi announced that the telephone lines system in the Techiman Municipality would be increased from the existing 500 lines to 5,000 by the end of the year to enable the e-commerce centre to operate effectively.

Mr. John Manu, Techiman Municipal Director of MOFA, earlier in a welcoming address, expressed profound gratitude to the Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Division of MOFA and ICCD of Netherlands for the vision to link farmers and traders to the internet in order to enhance their daily activities.

Mr. Manu said the municipality, being the food basket of the nation as well as hosting one of the largest markets in the sub-region, "is a better choice for the project, which would improve the livelihood of farmers, traders and enhance agricultural businesses".

Nana Owusu Gyare 11, Akwamuhene of Techiman Traditional Area urged MOFA staff to store data of market information for agric-products every year for easy identification and access to farmers.

Nana Gyare asked farmers to feed the centre with information on their farm produce for proper packaging and ready markets.

Present at the ceremony were Mr. Thomas Ahimah, first National best farmer and Director of Offuman Agric Project, Mr. Ahmed Sulemana, third best National farmer for 2000, Dr Stephen Ockling, disease investigator of the Veterinary Services and Mr. Kennedy Donkor, Techiman Municipal Chief Farmer.