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02.03.2006 General News

Hunger awaits Upper West this year


Wa, March 02, GNA - Mr Emmanuel Eledi, Upper West Regional Director of Agriculture, has warned of looming hunger in the region later this year following a huge shortfall in the production of all the major staple food crops during last year's farming season.

He said an end of year survey undertaken by his outfit revealed that the region would need 1,500 metric tones of maize, 3,600 metric tones of millet, 3,480 metric tones of sorghum, 9,300 metric tones of rice and 2,800 metric tones of yam to offset the hunger.

Mr Eledi painted this gloomy picture of the food situation in the region at Wa during the inauguration of the first batch of 24 tractors and their accessories the government allocated to farmers in the region. About 56 farmers and institutions in the region that have applied for the tractors are to deposit 60 million cedis out of the total cost of 160 million cedis per tractor and pay the rest within three years. He advised the beneficiaries to ensure that they provide efficient services to other farmers who would approach them for tractor services. Mr Eledi said many of the tractor owners often refused to comply with correct ploughing methods when serving others, thereby making the work more tedious than tilling with the hoe.

Mr Ambrose Dery, the Regional Minister, said despite laudable policies and programmes the government had put in place to increase food production, the region still groped in low agricultural productivity due to factors beyond the control of the farmers.

He appealed to farmers who were not benefiting from the first batch of the tractors to be patient the authorities worked to bring more of the tractors to the region.