Koforidua, Nov 01, GNA - The government had voted 237,800 million cedis to farmers through the district assemblies to support efforts to improve food production.
While 5,700 acres of maize is to be put under production this minor season in four regions, 1,625 acres of rice is to be produced in five regions under the Inland Rice Development Project over the next five years starting from this year.
Mr Godwin Kobla Ocloo, the Eastern Regional Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, `said this when briefing 11 students of the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College (GAFCSC) on a six-day study tour of the Eastern Region at Koforidua on Monday at a meeting of some Regional Heads of Ministries/Department/Agencies.
Led by Colonel Fred Hughton, the students from Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Zambia and Uganda, are to study the socio-economic conditions in the region as part of the College's environmental studies package.
Mr Ocloo said the ministry was supporting farmers with high yielding seeds, extension services and inputs including fertilizers to ensure high output.
He mentioned some constraints facing the system as financial, social technology, weather/environment and inadequate infrastructure.
On the health sector Dr Emmanuel Tenkorang, the acting Eastern Regional Director of Health, said the region the region had malaria, diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections among the commonest diseases. He said HIV/AIDS, which was known to have had the highest rate of prevalence in the region as at last year, recorded a decline from 9.8 per cent in 1992 to an average of 6.6 per cent while the national average was down to 3.2 per cent.
Dr Tenkorang attributed the marked decline to the government and donor support programmes including the Voluntary Testing and Counselling (VCT), prevention of mother-to-child transmission, the introduction of the Anti-Retroviral Drugs as well as support and care of People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs).
On the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Mr George Kumi Kyeremeh, the Eastern Regional NHIS Co-ordinator, said the region led in the implementation of the scheme since it was selected for pilot implementation in the 1980s before the NHIS Law was passed about two years ago.
He said all the 17 districts in the region were at various stages of implementation with some 16.28 per cent coverage by September. The students paid a courtesy call on the Omanhene of the New Juaben Traditional Area, Daasebre Dr Oti Boateng and will visit Yilo, Asuogyaman and Fanteakwa districts.