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30.08.2004 Regional News

More farmers to benefit from food processing programme

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Accra, Aug. 30, GNA - More than 50 farmers from five regions are to receive various food processing machines under an Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) food processing programme, Mr Akwasi Agyeman, Project Officer of ADRA announced on Monday.

He said ADRA would provide the farmers with credit for the acquisition of corn mills and cassava graters to process food items. Speaking at a one-week workshop of trainers and trainees in Accra, Mr Agyeman the agency, which began its food security programme in 2002, had earmarked 710 million cedis this year, for farmers to process food. He said the current batch of trainees from Greater Accra, Central, Upper East, Eastern and Volta Regions would be provided with loans of 30.5 million cedis and 5.5 million cedis each for the acquisition of cassava graters and corn mills respectively.

Mr Agyeman said so far 130 rural dwellers had benefited from over two billion cedis credit under the programme through the provision of cashew, maize and cassava processing machines in selected districts. He said ADRA's had targeted 30,000 farmers with integrated interventions such as increasing farmer's access to agricultural credit, provision of technical support, marketing support, provision of storage facilities and the rehabilitation of farm roads.

Mr Agyeman said the workshop would build capacities of participants to process food in a safe environment, learn to use the machines in a safe and sustainable manner to be able to clean and carry out repairs. Mr Cletus Gyato of the Food Research Institute told the farmers that with the advent of the numerous President's Special Initiatives (PSIs) for agricultural products, a lot of advantages now existed for their produce to be exported.

He said at present cassava had been given additional value in several forms, which required much effort and determination from them to increase their yields and incomes.

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