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19.11.2004 General News

Govt urged to pursue pragmatic agriculture programmes

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Kumasi, Nov. 19, GNA - An Economist has suggested to government to institute and pursue more pragmatic programmes, designed to encourage Ghanaian agriculturalists to shift their focus from conventional farming, to organic farming.

Mr George Mensah Kporye, Managing Director of Paradise Farms, who made the suggestion said, as part of such programmes, government should come out with incentive packages for those who venture into organic farming as well as measures that would help minimise the risk in organic farming.

Mr Kporye made the suggestion when he delivered a lecture on "Challenges of Organically Produced Horticultural Crops", at a national public lecture, organised by the Ghana Institute of Horticulturists (GHIH), in Kumasi on Thursday.

The lecture, which is the third in a series to be held in the Ashanti Region by the GHIH, is designed to enlighten the public more about the horticultural profession.

He made it clear that the fast rate at which consumers taste were shifting from conventional foods and products to organically grown foods, were ample indication that, organic farming will in the near future dominate the agricultural sector, thereby replacing conventional farming.

Mr Kporye was not happy that, only few organic non-governmental organisations existed in the country and whose activities seem not to have caught up with local farmers.

He stressed the need for measures that would create a conducive environment, to encourage the establishment of more organic NGOs, who should embark on sustained campaign programmes not just in the urban centres, but more importantly in the rural areas, on the importance of organic farming.

Mr Kporye said the organic NGOs should not just confine themselves to only awareness creation through campaigns, but also strive to supply literature on the production and consumption of organic foods, as well as planting materials for organic farming.

He disagreed that, organic farming was mainly a return to traditional method of agriculture, saying contrary to this perception organic farming combines traditional methods and modern technology in its execution.

Dr. (Mrs) N.S. Olympio, a council member of the GHIH, said, in view of the important role horticultural crops now play on the local and global market, the GHIH had embarked on a vigorous campaign programme to educate people about the relevance and value of venturing into organic farming.

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