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15.04.2006 General News

Afram Plains maize farmers appeal for assistance


Donkorkrom (E/R), April 15, GNA - Maize farmers in the Afram Plains have appealed to the government to assist them market the large quantity of maize produced last year to enable them to repay the 932-million-cedi farming inputs package received from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA).

The farming inputs package included fertilizers, weedicide and seed maize. The farmers made the appeal at the People's Assembly held at Donkorkrom and Tease in the Afram Plains District at the weekend. The farmers who attributed the maize glut in the area to the government's importation of large quantity of maize into the country, therefore, urged the government to purchase the maize for supply to educational institutions.

They emphasized that they would not be able to get funds to pay for similar inputs package to cultivate the crop this farming season if they could not market what they harvested last year. The Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Yaw Barimah, however, refuted the allegation that the maize glut was due to the government's importation of maize into the country but attributed it to the low patronage of maize by poultry farmers since over 60 per cent of maize produced in the country were used by them which they are no longer purchasing due to recent low patronage of poultry products in the country. He announced that the district would soon receive financial assistance from the African Development Bank (ADB) and the Millennium Challenge Accounts to improve agriculture, roads and other infrastructure to enhance productivity and improved standard of living.

The District Chief Executive, Mr. Solomon Fordjour, said the assembly had decided to use its Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF) to purchase tractors, gari processing machines, corn shellers, planters and other farming inputs on rental basis for all farmers to benefit while individuals and group farmers would also be assisted to purchase their own tractors.

He said the assembly is sponsoring two doctors and 10 nurses at the Ghana Medical School and Nursing Training institutions, respectively, for them to return to the district to provide the health needs of the people.

According to Mr. Fordjour, 495 teachers are also being assisted to undertake further studies through the Distant Education programme to upgrade their qualifications.