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07.03.2005 Regional News

Mechanisation is key to agricultural development-Dr. Hammond

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Accra, March,7, GNA - Without mechanisation, Ghana's food and agricultural sector will not make the expected impact on the economy, Dr Nii Okai Hammond, Deputy Minister, Food and Agriculture designate, said on Tuesday.

"The use of the hoe and cutlass is drudgery, mechanisation is the key."

Dr. Hammond who was appearing before the Appointment Committee of Parliament said agriculture needed to be linked effectively with all sectors of the economy since it could not stand alone.

He said government was in the process of distributing some 1000 tractors at subsidized prices to farmers, while revamping the irrigation sector to make agriculture less burdensome.

He said the country needed special maps and data that would inform investors and local farmers on where to go for which soil type and what water table and other variables that make for profitable farming.

According to the nominee, the nation has a massive potential at food production, which should be pursued.

On pest and diseases, he said, locusts invasion had minimised due to the vigilance of scientists in the West African sub-region. He said the watchers spend time tracing the source of the locust and have been successful in forecasting, hence averting crop losses and its attendant famine.

Later, Mr Clement Eledi, a Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, appeared before the committee.

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