Bongo (U/E), Jan 24, GNA - Mr Boniface Gambila, the Upper East Regional Minister, and Mr Roy Ayariga the Regional Director of Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) at the weekend called on district assemblies in the region to allocate more resources to promote agriculture.
They said the region had a lot of potential in agriculture and if farmers were supported with credit facilities and resources to undertake the three-planting per year programme, the area could produce a lot.
The two suggested that the Poverty Alleviation Fund of the assemblies could be given to viable farmers' groups who had tangible proof that they were into farming or would actually go into farming. They made the call at Bongo during the regional and Bongo District Farmer's day celebration under the theme " Agricultural Production and Productivity the key to growth and poverty reduction"
Mr Ayariga appealed to the assemblies not to under estimate the benefit of investing in agriculture, saying that repairing broken dams that would give employment and food to many during the dry season would not be misplaced.
He said the three-crop programme was a successful experiment that some farmers in the region were guided to undertake - cropping three times in a year, twice during the seven months dry period and the usual rain fed cropping.
Mr Gambila said the district assemblies in the region had already been directed to provide farmers' groups with water pumps for irrigation.
He said the coordinating council and MOFA were encouraging women to acquire at least half a hectare of land to go into dry season farming. Mr Gambila urged MOFA and agriculture based non-governmental organisations to organise trade associations that would negotiate for good markets for the local produce.
"If farmers are unable to sell, they cannot recoup production fund to re-invest.''
Mr Francis Asampana, the Bongo District Chief Executive, said MOFA and Mr Albert Abongo, Member of Parliament for Bongo Central, had together provided 10 pumping machines to farmers' groups to undertake dry season farming.
He said the assembly had also budgeted for five tractors and 10 pumping machines for farmers in the area Mr Asampana urged MOFA to educate farmers on the need to cultivate new varieties of crops especially early maturing ones.
Alhaji Sofo Sana from Bawku Municipality was adjudged the Best Regional Farmer and received one corn mill, one wax print, a sewing machine, radio, one pair Wellington boots, a bicycle, and two machetes. The others who came up best in the various crops had a bicycle, one wax print, radio, two machetes and a pair of Wellington boots. The winners are Mr Seeta Hamidu from Garu-Tempane for onion, Mr Achuama Adobrimyeri from Bulisa District for rice, Mr Asaman Aweya from Bawku West for groundnuts and Mr Pubeng Gbanwea from Talensi-Nabdam for sorghum.
For tomato and soya bean Mr James Atetoge Bolgatanga Municipality and Mr Peter Ayuri of Kassena Nankana respectively took the prizes, while Ayaama Akeam, Bongo District came best for millet and Mr Ahmed Bogobiri from Kassena Nankana took that for livestock. The best maize farmer was Mr. Issaka Atibil while the best fisherman went to Mr. Agoswin Zakari.
Mr Asampana Adebugum came overall best farmer in the Bongo District.