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17.12.2004 Regional News

Upper West Farmers take loans

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Wa, Dec. 17 GNA - The Upper West Agricultural Development Project (UWADEP), since its inception about six years ago granted a total of =A25.5 billion cedis to 908 farming groups in the Region as loans. A total of 13,553 individuals enjoyed the facility out of which 7,544 that gained a total of 2.5 billion cedis were women.

Mr. J.Y. Faalong, Regional director of Food and Agriculture announced this at Wa on Friday during a validation workshop to assess their performance in the project.

He said 584 farming groups made up of 8,424 people were given production loans while 79 groups were given inventory loans and described the recovery rate as satisfactory as it exceeded 80 percent. "The award of loans to them has particularly raised the status of women as they can now contribute to the upkeep of their families and make decisions at all levels of development," he added.

Mr. Faalong said under the project, a total of 20 dams were constructed and rehabilitated which would cover over 220 hectares of farming lands for the people.

He said about 40 hand-dug wells were also constructed to provide safe drinking water for about 10,000 people all over the region. The Regional director said over 16 kilometres of feeder roads had been constructed to facilitate the carting of foodstuff from the farming communities to marketing centres while 290 kilometres of roads underwent routine maintenance.

He said the project had brought tremendous improvement in livestock production, animal traction, crop production among others land called on beneficiaries to sustain the project after the withdrawal of the IFAD sponsored project.

Mr. Sahanun Mogtari, Upper West Regional Minister appealed to the Regional Seed Growers Association to embark on aggressive educational programmes on the use of improved seeds to increase yield.

He urged District Directors of Agriculture to closely liaise with District Assemblies to enable them to achieve their objectives of producing food in abundance.

The project, which started in 1996 was sponsored by International fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the government of Ghana.

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