Babaso (Ash), Dec 3, GNA - The government has re-negotiated with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) for extension period of the Root and Tuber Improvement Programme (RTIP) for another five years in the Ejura-Sekyedumase district of Ashanti.
Dr Joshua Ayarkwa, the District Chief Executive, who announced this, said the first phase of the programme ended in 2003 and that the second phase would take off early next year. Speaking at the 21st Farmers Day celebration at Babaso near Ejura on Friday, Dr Ayarkwa indicated that during the second phase, producers and farmers will be provided with cassava processing equipment to process raw cassava into good quality gari which can be exported to other countries. He said in the last programme, the farmers were supplied with improved cassava planting materials to produce cassava and this resulted in a glut making marketing difficult.
Touching on livestock development projects in the district, the DCE pointed out that an amount of 370 million cedis have been disbursed to 90 livestock farmers for the production of sheep, goats and pigs, adding that vetting was going on and in due course, other farmers will also benefit. He said the district has been selected by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) to benefit from the setting up of a mechanization service center. In view of this, he said, the district will soon take delivery of a number of tractors and farm implements, including shelling machines, stressing that when the project comes into operation, lack of agricultural services to hard working farmers in the area will be a thing of the past.
Dr Ayarkwa, who paid glowing tributes to farmers who were being honoured, hoped they would consider the honour as a motivation to improve on their performance so that the country would ensure food security. Alhaji Issifu Mohammed Pangabu, Member of Parliament (MO) for Ejura-Sekyedumase, said he was impressed about the value of prizes given to farmers this year and hoped they would work harder to reciprocate the gesture. He said there was the need for the government to however, have a second look at the prizes of farm inputs and cost of ploughing in the area so that more young people would go into farming.
In all, 20 farmers, including Nana Kwaku Sarfo Kantanka II, Ejurahene received awards at the celebration, which was on the theme, "Agricultural Production and Productivity, The Key to Growth and Poverty Reduction". The overall district best farmer award went to 55-year-old Mr Evans Peter Nsiah from Ejura who was presented with a 21-inch colour television set, agro-chemicals, a full piece of wax print and a bicycle. The other farmers were also presented with cutlasses, Wellington boots, spraying machines and certificates.