20.04.2005 Business & Finance

Govt imports 400 new tractors from India

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Wechiau (U/W), April 20, GNA - The government will soon take delivery of 400 new tractors from India for sale to farmers at 160 million cedis each, Mr Clement Eledi, the Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, has said.

Responding to questions at two separate People's Assemblies at Wechiau in the Wa West District, he said farmers needed to pay 40 million cedis as deposit and the rest of the amount spread over three years.

He said the tractors, which would arrive within the next two months, had a market value of 320 million cedis each and were being brought in knocked-down form for assembling in the country in order to make them affordable to farmers.

Both ceremonies were well patronized by chiefs, heads of departments and government agencies and general public despite an organizational hitch at Wa where the ministers of state boycotted the platform erected for them because the municipal authorities were late in organizing the function.

Issues raised included lack of good roads in the region, slow pace of the rural electrification programme in the southern part of the region, lack of irrigation facilities for all year round agriculture and the National Health Insurance scheme (NHIS).

Mr Eledi said the ministry would henceforth encourage the use of windmills to pump water for irrigation in order to address the problem of the short rainy season in the north.

With the supply of 100 windmills to the Upper West Region in particular, it is hoped that about 25,000 acres of land would be irrigated.

Mr Ambrose Dery, the Regional Minister, said enough budgetary allocation had been made to procure low-tension electricity poles for Wechiau and other communities in the district.

To ensure the success of the NHIS in the district, he said, the assembly had released 27 million cedis to the Health Insurance Management Team to fast track the implementation of the scheme. Mr Moses Dani Baah, the Deputy Minister of Private Sector Development and President's Special Initiatives, called on chiefs in the area to mobilize their people and invite officials of the NHIS to educate them on the scheme.

He expressed regret that the region was lagging behind in the implementation of the scheme especially the Wa Municipality, Wa East, Wa West and Sissala districts, which were even selected as pilot districts for the commencement of the scheme 20 April 05

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