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14.01.2005 Regional News

East Gonja District Assembly establishes seed bank

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Accra, Jan. 14, GNA- The East Gonja District Assembly, has embarked upon a 10,000 Canadian- Dollar, food security project that includes the establishment of seed and gene banks, to preserve local seed varieties from extinction.

The five-year project, which was made possible through collaboration with Juxtapose Integrated Development Association (JIDA), an indigenous non-governmental organisation (NGO), and WSC, a Canadian donor organisation, is also encouraging organic farming, to help preserve the ecology and promote sustainable agricultural practices. Mr Jerry Draman Jackson, Executive Director of JIDA, told the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Friday that, the local farmers have been supplied with variety of seeds, to facilitate food production in the predominantly farming District of the Northern Region. Through the support of IBIS, a Danish NGO, JIDA has supplied donkey carts to a number of farmers and provided 20 million cedis to 40 women groups, under a Micro-financing project.

"Since 2000, another NGO, Oxfam -Ghana had supported 25 women groups with 67 million cedis."

Mr Jackson said the money had been transformed into a revolving fund, adding: "the recovery rate of about 75 per cent is very encouraging".

JIDA, IBIS and the District Assembly had established about 30 community- based organisations, under a Public Participation in Local Governance initiative, to advocate development projects in their localities.

Mr Jackson said JIDA had spearheaded the formation of East Gonja Women Empowerment Foundation, to sensitise women to take active interest in local governance and their socio-economic development, within the framework of gender equality.

He said through collaboration with IBIS, JIDA had initiated radio functional literacy groups in 12 communities to keep the learners abreast with current affairs.

Through the collaborative efforts of JIDA, IBIS and Oxfam 35 sewing machines and 22 hair dryers, valued at 34.8 million cedis, have been supplied to Salaga Beauticians Association and the East Gonja Tailoring Association.

JIDA was formed in 1995, after the bloody ethnic conflict that engulfed parts of the Northern Region in 1994, with the aim of fostering mutual cooperation among the ethnic groups in the District.

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