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09.09.2005 Business & Finance

Over 1,000 farmers embrace PSI on oil palm


Okyinso (E/R), Sept 09, GNA - Over 1,000 farmers at Okyinso and 17 surrounding towns and villages in the Kwaebibirem District have embraced the President's Special Initiative (PSI) on oil palm and have gone into the cultivation of the crop.

They were supplied with seedlings by the Sarpcoe Enterprise, one of the four nurseries in the district contracted by the PSI to produce seedlings, and farmer associations.

The other nurseries in the district are at Kusi, Darmang and Okumaning.

Mr Isaac Kwaku Sarpong, the Managing Director of the Company, said Sarpcoe Enterprise raised 100,000 seedlings last year and increased it to 150,000 seedlings this year.

Mr Sarpong said the company planned to increase the seedlings production to 200,000 next year with the acquisition of big pumps that would help increase the capacity of its irrigation system. Mr Robert Akowuah, chairman of the PSI Oil Palm Union, told the GNA at Okyisi that what was required to join the union and therefore the PSI was ownership of land.

The land would be cleared and prepared for planting with all expenses, including lining and pegging, cost of seedlings and their conveyance to the farm, protective nets for the seedlings, borne by the PSI Secretariat.

The PSI, in collaboration with investors, would help the farmers to set up mills for the processing of the palm fruits and kernels. When the produce is sold, a small percentage would be deducted to cover the expenses made by the PSI for the cultivation of the oil palm. Mr Akowuah said the farmers were being encouraged to intercrop their farms with maize. They are supplied with seed, fertilizer and the farms sprayed with weedicides and insecticides as part of the PSI package.