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20.07.2005 General News

Agric Ministry to improve veterinary services

GNA

Accra, July 20, GNA - Mr. Ernest Debrah, Minister of Food and Agriculture, on Wednesday said the Agriculture Ministry has written to the Registrar of the Scholarship Secretariat to consider awarding scholarships for the training of veterinary surgeons. He said Ghana did not have enough trained veterinary surgeons and this needed to be addressed.

The Minister was answering a question in Parliament on whether the Ministry has plans to make the Veterinary Services Department autonomous.

Mr. Debrah said the Ministry has no plans to make the department autonomous because it no longer existed. He said it has been replaced by a Veterinary Services Directorate at the head quarters but there were regional and district development officers, with some of them responsible for issues relating to veterinary delivery at the various levels.

"Mr. Speaker, my Ministry acknowledges the fact that the decentralisation exercise may not have resulted in improved service delivery. However, it is my view that making the veterinary services autonomous would not necessarily lead to improved service delivery." "What my Ministry needs to do is to put in place policies to improve service delivery," the Minister noted.

In response to another question on promoting the neem tree as a potential source of insecticide to control pest, Mr Debrah said there was no doubt that commercialising the production of insecticide from neem tree would bring several advantages.

He said at the moment," the challenge is how to identify private investors to show interest in such a venture. It is my wish to have my ministry work with the Ministry of Private Sector Development to identify private investment in this direction."

Mr Debrah also answered a question from Dr. Kwame Ampofo, NDC- South Dayi, on the current legal status of the Equitorial Capital Ventures Limited of the United States that has been operating on the Peki Agbate settlement farmland in the Volta Region.

The Minister told the House that the company was given permission to move to the Agbate site for farming purposes in response to government's declaration of the 'golden age of business.' He said a group calling itself the "representatives of Peki Agbate and Land Owners" brought a suit at the High Court in the region questioning the basis of the whole transaction and asked to re-posses the land.

Mr Debrah said the trial judge ruled against the complainants and other relieves sought by them did not yield the results they sought. "However, the complainants have since February 2005, filed an appeal at the Appeal Court against the ruling. The appeal is yet to be determined," he said. 20 July 05

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