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19.01.2005 Regional News

Second phase of community-based development project begins

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Sekondi, Jan. 19, GNA - The Second phase of the 60-million dollar Community-Based Rural Development Project (CBRDP) began in the Central and Western regions in October 2004 to replace the Village Infrastructure Project (VIP).

The project, which would end in February 2009, is aimed at institutional Strengthening and Capacity Building, Private, Micro, and Social Enterprises and Natural Resources Management. Heads of departments and institutions in the Western Region on Tuesday attended a day's workshop on the project at Sekondi.

Mr. Adu-Gyamfi Abunyewa, Project Rural Infrastructural Engineer, speaking on Infrastructure for Agricultural Development said the project would provide assistance to farmers and those engaged in other income generating activities to increase their incomes.

This would include the construction of small irrigation dams, as well as the rehabilitation old ones, including wells and also promote the use of wind-powered irrigation.

Mr. Abunyewa said spot improvement of feeder roads, manufacture of farm machinery, construction of slaughter houses, fish landing sites, on farm storage and agro processing equipment would be tackled under the project.

He stressed that community groups and individuals would be the main beneficiaries of the new project, which is aimed at reducing poverty. Mrs Emily Akotia, a Specialist in Rural Enterprises and Learning Centres said micro credit scheme of the CBRDP would provide grants and loans through rural banks on commercial basis to commercially viable projects in the communities.

She said the grants were meant to enable poor communities to establish income-generating activities to enhance wealth creation, reduce poverty and improve the general well being of the people. Mrs Akotia said productive, profitable and indigenous agricultural and non-agricultural activities located in rural areas would also be considered as learning centres.

Mr. Desmond Duametu an Institutional Development Specialist said community based rural natural resources would have water facilities, feeder roads and markets to support resource management in collaboration with rural communities.

He said within the first and second years of the project, the Northern, Greater Accra and Central regions would be assisted to conserve their natural resources on a pilot basis to adopt alternative livelihoods to minimise their impact on the forests, while other regions could apply to be included on the project.

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