17.10.2004 Regional News

CIDA, MOFA to assist cassava farmers

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Nsuase (Ash), Oct 17, GNA - The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in partnership with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) is to assist five cassava farmers groups at Nsuase near Asante-Mampong with 200 million cedis.

Mr Emmanuel Asiedu, the Sekyere West District director of MOFA, who announced this, said the assistance was to enable the farmers to expand their farms and also increase production through standard agricultural practices.

Addressing the first graduation ceremony of the Nsuase Farmers Field School on Thursday, he said plans were also far advanced to provide the farmers groups with irrigation facilities and cassava processing machine to add value to their produce. In all, 17 farmers including nine women graduated from the school after a year's intensive field training in the cultivation of four new varieties of cassava, using the Integrated Pest Management Approach. Mr Asiedu urged the graduates to share the knowledge they had acquired with their colleagues as their contribution towards mass poverty reduction.

Dr Anthony Richmond Cudjoe, the Deputy Director of Plant Protection and Regulatory Service Directorate (PPRSD) of MOFA, said the programme was to complement the deficiencies inherent in the operations of the agricultural extension officers, who had many farmers to supervise.

He said the programme, even though was expensive, would not be curtailed because it had proven to be the most sustainable way of making farmers to adopt standard methods of farming. Mr Angelo Osei-Sarfo, Unit Head, Biological Control of PPRSD of MOFA, lauded the graduates' ability to identify the various weeds and insects using their botanical names and the prevention and control measures.

Mr Thomas Edward Atakorah, Sekyere West District chief Executive said the government would continue to support agricultural activities to ensure the realisation of the national food security objective. Nana Yiadom Boakye Agyemang, Nsuasehene said, the land at Nsuase was suitable for the cultivation of oil palm and therefore, appealed to the government to extend the President's Special Initiative on Oil Palm to the area.

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