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10.06.2005 Regional News

Rehabilitate silos to ensure food security- Minister

GNA

Damongo (N/R), June 10, GNA - Dr Nii Okai Hammond, a Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), has urged regional directorates of the ministry to ensure that all dilapidated silos in the major food producing centres are rehabilitated. He said it was important to take measures to avert a possible situation were foodstuffs stored in weak silos could be washed away by floods as it recently happened in some parts of the Central Region.

Dr Hammond said this at Damongo on Thursday where he inspected a large food silo that is in a state of disrepair. He is on a four-day visit to the Northern Region. He said MOFA would soon put in place a Food Reserve Policy to ensure that in times of bumper harvest all the major food grains and cereals were purchased and stocked in silos.

Dr Hammond said the government now places more emphasis on the cultivation of cotton, cashew, cassava, sorghum, soybean and other fruit crops that could earn foreign exchange. He urged farmers to acquire large hectares for the cultivation of cotton and cassava to feed the textile and starch industries while sorghum and soybean would feed the breweries.

Mr Francis Ennor, the District Director of Agriculture, said there are 39 cashew groups in the district with membership of 10 each and the Agriculture Development Bank gives credit facilities to the farmers for land preparation and intercropping to make them committed to cashew cultivation. He said this year the district plans to cultivate 500 hectares of cashew and this would require 1,200 kilos of seedlings for planting.

Mr Yakubu Zakaria, the acting West Gonja District Chief Executive, said because of the dependence on rain fed agriculture the district was unable to maximise its potential in agricultural production. He appealed to MOFA to provide dams and irrigation facilities to enhance agricultural production in the district.

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