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09.08.2004 Regional News

Media asked not to let Election overshadow devt issues

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Accra, Aug 9 GNA - Mr Akwasi Agyeman, Greater Accra Field Project Officer of the Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA), has asked the media not let the 2004 General Election over shadow other developmental issues when setting their agenda.

"As facilitators of the national agenda, the media play critical role in directing and shaping policy and development guidelines and should, therefore, not relegate issues like agriculture and rural development to the background at the expense of 2004 General Election." Mr Agyeman was speaking at a two-day capacity building workshop for 70 rural farmers drawn from over 40 communities in Ga and Dangbe East Districts of the Greater Accra Region in Accra.

The workshop, which was organised by ADRA aimed at finding ways of addressing challenges that militate against the production of mango and other fruits in the region.

Mr Agyeman urged the media to ensure that politicians give priority to agriculture and other development issues in their electioneering campaigns.

He said this would encourage politicians and policy makers to take positive steps towards the development of agriculture, the backbone of the economy adding that: "A well-fed nation is much more likely to be a peaceful one,".

"The ability of mango production to alleviate poverty and empower farmers economically has never been in doubt...A mango farmer with a holding of about one acre could derive over 20 million cedis from the acre when the plantation is properly managed."

Mr Samuel Asante-Mensah, ADRA Country Director, said the Agency with support of the United States Agency for International Development, has since 1996 provided food security to over 16,000 farmer households. He said ADRA through by distributing food rations and provision of inputs and credit facilities to farmers to produce annual crops, has helped in the elimination of hunger among many people in the region.

Mr Asante-Mensah said experience in over 125 countries worldwide had shown that poverty, ignorance, the lack of resource and income generating opportunities continued to be major factors causing hunger.