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16.02.2006 Business & Finance

FOXFAM supports farmers to increase food production

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Bolgatanga, Feb. 16, GNA - Farmers in 28 communities of six districts in the Northern Sector have been given farm inputs worth four billion cedis to boost their farming activities and to increase food production.

The Ghana Programme Office of OXFAM GB, a British NGO engaged in works of charity, on Thursday presented the farmers with bullocks, donkeys, ploughs, carts, Wellington boots, cutlasses, water tanks and watering cans, rain coats and plastic bags for nursing seedlings at a ceremony in Bolgatanga.

Mr Samson Salifu Danse, Country Programme Manager, who presented the items to the farmers through the Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Boniface Gambila, explained that even though the inputs were given free of charge to the communities, the beneficiary farmers were supposed to make payments in instalments that would enable other farmers to benefit. He said each community formed a group that played the role of an intermediary between the Programme and the rest of the farmers who were also being trained to use some of the inputs efficiently. Mr Danse said the programme was also helping farmers with improved varieties of rice, tree growing and dry season farming.

Mr Danse noted that farmers in the northern sector had always remained at the subsistence level due to the high cost of farm inputs and building material and appealed to district assemblies to help the farmers to perform better. He also urged the government to give special attention to rice and tomato cultivation, which was the main occupation of more than 40 per cent of the populace.

Mr Gambila urged OXFAM not to relent on its efforts at helping to increase food production but to continue to assist the farmers to eventually be able to go into large scale farming. He advised the beneficiary farmers to maintain the equipment regularly so that it would last to serve them for long. The Integrated Livelihood Programme of OXFAM seeks to address food and income insecurity of poor women and men through increased crop and livestock production, promote agro forestry and negotiate for fair prices.

The districts that are benefiting from the programme are: East Mamprusi, Zabzugu-Tatale, Bawku East, Bolgatanga, Bulisa, Jirapa/Lambussie and Lawra/Nandom.