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07.06.2005 General News

Poverty Reduction Strategy Focuses on Agric


Bolgatanga, June 7, GNA - The second phase of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) will focus on agriculture, employment, human resource development and good governance, Mr. Jonathan Azasoo, Senior Planner at the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), has said.

He said the strategy, which would be implemented for three years, was being drawn by the NDPC to succeed the Phase I, which ended this year.

Speaking at a seminar in Bolgatanga to solicit suggestions for the Phase Two of the policy document, Mr. Azasoo, said poverty reduction in the country should reflect in the level of development. He suggested that emphasis should be placed on the diversification of agriculture to encourage the cultivation of crops with high economic value on the international market.

"Investment in the processing of agriculture produce could attract better market and also provide employment for the youth," he said. A Deputy Director of the NDPC, Mr. Kobina Okyere, called on agriculture experts to research into sustainable farming methods that would give better crop yield as well as preserve the soil. Mr. Okyere expressed concern about the rate of deforestation in the country and advocated for the promotion and use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) to reduce the over reliance on fuel-wood.

The participants, mainly public and civil servants, called for an improvement of irrigation schemes in the Upper East region to boost agricultural production.

They appealed to the government and non-governmental organisations to provide more dams in the area to encourage all-year-round farming, saying rain-fed agriculture had proved inadequate for sustainable farming.