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02.12.2005 General News

Some of the highlights of President Kufuor's Speech at National Farmers'

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Navrongo (U/E), Dec. 2, GNA - Government is enlisting the support of the French Government to boost cotton production and enhance the income of farmers in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions. The Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Agriculture Development Bank are working on the initiative to ensure that farmers exacted the maximum benefit from the Ghana-France cooperation. Cotton and Sorghum have been selected for cultivation under the President's Special Initiative in the three Regions.

President Kufuor asked farmers to rationalise their production methods to enable them to benefit from the project. He said the Government was intensifying efforts to promote all year round farming throughout the country. This he said was the surest way to enhance productivity, increase farmers' income and raise the level of economic growth as well as reduce poverty.

In this line the Government was working to revive all defunct irrigation schemes and also to assist farmers to acquire small irrigation systems to enable them to farm during the dry season. President Kufuor said increase productivity in the agricultural sector would stimulate growth and propel the country to a middle-income status.

Ghana could re-capture its position as the world's leading cocoa producer if the farmers embraced the various interventions being made by the Government to improve the sector. He said so far government's interventions in the areas of provision of seeds, fertiliser and spraying among other measures had led to a huge increase in the production of the beans from 400,000 tonnes to more than 600,000 tonnes. President Kufuor said the Government was in negotiations with a Canadian company to facilitate the removal of tree stumps from the Volta Lake to allow for smooth transportation on the lake and to also promote fishing.

Efforts were also being made to establish fish landing areas in selected areas along the coast to allow fisher folks to regulate the prices of their catch to boost their income. There are also plans to introduce alternative livelihood for fishing communities to enable them to acquire new skills, which they can use during the lean season. Government has announced a 10 billion housing loan for farmers to enable interested farmers to rehabilitate their homes. There is also a five billion cedi auto laon scheme to enable farmers to acquire cars.

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