Bawku (U/E), June 6, GNA - The Government has provided a total of 3.7 billion cedis to be sourced as credit by farmers in the Bawku East, Bawku West and Garu-Tempane Districts to boost agricultural activities in those areas and stem rural urban drift.
Vice President Aliu Mahama, who announced the facility when he addressed separate durbars in the districts, encouraged the farmers to utilize the funds for large-scale production of sorghum, maize and cotton to feed the breweries and the textile industry.
The funds which would be managed as a Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA)/IFAD facility, would be disbursed through the Toende Rural Bank at Zebilla, the Agriculture Development Bank at Bawku and the Garu Rural Bank.
Vice President Mahama said the Government recognized the difficulty in mobilizing funds in such rural areas, hence the facility to support the farmers to go into commercial production.
He further announced that several dams were being constructed and rehabilitated in the communities to sustain farming all year round.
In the Bawku West District, which would benefit from a 770 million cedis credit, two dams have been constructed at Googo and Yariga, while contract has been awarded for the construction of two additional dams at Apodabogo and Widnaba at a total cost of three billion cedis. Several dams are being provided in the other areas.
Vice President Mahama advised the people to maintain peace in their areas so that they could focus on productive activities. He welcomed an announcement by the Paramount Chief of Bawku Traditional Area, Naba Asigri Abugrago Azoka II to eliminate the image of Bawku as a trouble spot, saying there was no need preserving that reputation.
The Vice President said Bawku was a fast growing area with the potential to attract investments to create jobs and wealth, but conflict and instability would deter the government, nongovernmental organisations, the private sector and tourists.
Vice President Mahama later inaugurated an office block complex built at the cost of 2.1 billion cedis for the Municipal Assembly at Bawku.
He also inspected the progress of work at the Bawku Secondary School, which was being upgraded with 16 billion cedis into a model school.
An ICT laboratory, hostel and other facilities to improve teaching and learning are being provided in line with the Government's vision to upgrade one Senior Secondary School in each district to a high-class institution, the local authorities said.
Addressing the students, Vice President Mahama advised them to be disciplined, respect their leaders and take their academic work seriously so that they would grow up to become responsible citizens. He said the future of the nation was in their hands and, therefore, they should prepare themselves adequately to be able to meet the challenges.
The Vice President condemned vandalism in schools and called on them to guide against HIV/AIDS by abstaining from pre-marital sex.
At Zebilla, the Vice President inaugurated a Rural Bank and a new children's ward at the Zebilla Hospital. He also inaugurated a guesthouse constructed by the District Assembly at the cost of 465 million cedis to support tourism. The area has an Eco Tourist Site at Widnaba where elephants could be sighted.
The Children's Ward was funded with proceeds from the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Fund at the cost of 363 million cedis. Vice President Mahama also inspected a computer laboratory at the Gbwewaa Training College at Pusiga and a health centre at Binduri. He addressed durbars held in his honour at Pusiga, Garu-Tempane, and Binduri, where the chiefs commended the Government for the provision of development projects and asked for more.
Vice President Mahama pledged that their requests for the extension of electricity to cover all communities, the rehabilitation of roads, provision of telephone facilities, educational and health infrastructure would be met in due course as the Government was committed to keeping faith with the people.
The Vice President, who is on a weeklong duty tour of the Upper East and Northern Regions was accompanied by Alhaji Bukari Ben Salifu, Minister of State at the office of the Senior Minister, Dr Gesika Agambilla, Deputy Minister of Ports, Harbours and Railways, Mr Joe Akudibilla, Deputy Minister of Defence, and Madam Hawa Yakubu, Member of Parliament for Bawku Central.
The rest were Mr Andrew Awuni, a Deputy Minister of Information and Mr John Benam Jabaah, Deputy Minster, Employment and Manpower Development.