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30.12.2005 Regional News

Farmers in Atwima-Mponua owe 1.7 billion cedis

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Nyinahin (Ash), Dec 30, GNA- Farmers in the Atwima-Mponua district of Ashanti have refused to pay for fertilizer supplied to them to the tune of 1.7 billion cedis.

As a result, Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs) who guaranteed for them the first time are reluctant to do so this time. This has led to the locking up of about 12,000 bags of fertilizer meant for 2,000 cocoa farmers in the district.

Mr. Wilberforce Owusu-Ansah, the District Chief Executive, who disclosed this, therefore appealed to the beneficiary farmers to pay so that the cocoa hi-tech programme does not collapse in the district. Addressing a meeting of the district assembly at Nyinahin on Thursday, he said the government spends approximately 476 million cedis from August to December since the introduction of the mass spraying programme on the spraying of cocoa in the district. Mr. Owusu-Ansah said so far about 22,054 hectares of farms covering about 3,957 farmers have been sprayed this year while about 300 farmers outside the cocoa sector benefited from the minor season production package, where they were given seed, fertilizer, herbicides, insecticides and money as top ups.

Under the Food and Agriculture Budget Support (FABS), the district received 206 million cedis, the DCE stated and said four individual farmers and six groups would benefit from it and that disbursement would soon start.

Mr Owusu-Ansah announced that the assembly under its health programme released 50 million cedis to the Tano-Dumase Anglican Clinic as support to procure basic health equipment. The assembly, he said, also assisted in the immunization of about 5,944 people during the outbreak of yellow fewer in the Wasanmire zone at the cost of five million cedis.

This year, the DCE said the assembly supported the National Immunisation Day programme with 20 million cedis culminating a successful 106.8 per cent coverage.

He also announced that the three health aids sponsored by the assembly to undergo training at the cost of 4.5 million cedis have completed their course and gave the assurance that his administration was prepared to sponsor more trainee nurses. Mr Owusu-Ansah announced that the assembly had procured an anaesthetic machine for the Nyinahin hospital to facilitate surgical operations and that it had made an initial payment of 50 million cedis while a nurse was undergoing training at the 37 Military Hospital in the use of the machine.

The DCE told the assembly that the district was among five beneficiary districts to benefit from the African Development Bank (ADB) sponsored water project under which 800 boreholes would be drilled in these districts.

He said, however, that the performance of each of the districts would determine the number of boreholes it would get. Mr. Owusu-Ansah said this therefore called for commitment on the part of the assembly if the district was to get enough boreholes to meet the demands of the people.

He therefore, asked the assembly members to submit the names of three people from their communities to be trained as latrine artisans before January 20, 2006 since the water facility was tied to the construction of latrines.

The DCE told the assembly that the latrine component was vital and must be encouraged explaining that the beneficiaries pay only 50 per cent of the cost while the project absorbed the rest. Mr Owusu-Ansah announced that five schools have been selected to pilot the NEPAD School Feeding Programme and called on the assembly members from the electoral areas where the schools were chosen to mobilize their people to build kitchens and dinning halls for the school children.