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08.03.2005 Regional News

Government called upon to irrigate more lands

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Accra, March 8, GNA - Mr Alfred Abayateye, NDC-Sege, on Tuesday called on the Government to source for funds for irrigation projects to enable it to irrigate most of the farmlands that abounded in the country.

He said Ghana had a lot of water bodies closer to arable lands such as the Accra Plains that must not be allowed to lie fallow while people could not afford to buy foodstuffs and go to bed hungry. Mr Abayateye made these comments when he was contributing to the debate on the Budget Statement in the House.

"Its about time we stopped importing onions and tomatoes from Burkina Faso, which is a desert country but have been able to have a planned and sustained irrigation projects for their farms throughout the year."

He said it was sad that the President's Special Initiative on Cassava had not reached his constituency, even though, it was a cassava producing area, and pleaded that it should be extended to cover Sege. Mr Robert Sarfo-Mensah, NPP-Asunafo North, suggested that farmers should be assisted with a pension scheme to enable them to live a normal life after their retirement.

"If that is done the youth may leave the streets and go into farming with the assurance that their toil will not be in vain."

He also suggested other schemes that would assist farmers to get access to good houses and cars so that they would not regret going into farming and dying as paupers without a decent house and a car. "These pickup trucks or cars can enhance their work carting their farm produce to the cities and also for their enjoyment."

Mr Sarfo-Mensah appealed to the Government to help cocoa farmers to collect their bonuses since most of them had not receive theirs due to the new mode of payment which was cumbersome.

Mr Kwadwo Agyei-Addo, NPP-Fanteakwa, urged the Government to take drastic measures against "the unsocial and uneconomic" activities of the Fulani herdsmen living in his constituency.

He said they had destroyed most farms and sources of water in the community with impunity and disregarded appeals to restrict their cattle to particular areas.

"They even choose the juiciest of our women and even rape some of them without using condoms in an area where the prevalent rate of HIV/AIDS is 7.6 per cent."

Earlier, the various committees of the House laid 10 reports on the Budget estimates for the Ministries, Departments and Agencies. They include the annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development; Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ministry of Works and Housing; Ministry of Women and Children Affairs and the Trade and Industry Ministry. 08 March 05

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