Gwollu, (U/W), Sept.11, GNA - Dr Hafiz Bin
Salih, Upper West Regional Minister has praised farmers in the Sissala area for
fully embracing the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJs) Programme and
demonstrating its impact on their lives.
“Through the subsidised fertilizer and other services offered under the programme, you have been able to increase both the number of acreage and yield, which ultimately translated into increased income levels, thereby, putting meaning into the programme”, he said.
Dr Bin Salih gave the praise during a visit to Awo Fields and the over 3,000 acres of maize farm belonging to Gohuoballe Agric and Business Ventures (GAB Ventures); a farmers’ group in the Sissala West District of the Upper West Region.
The Minister who was inspecting progress of government flagship programmes including; the PFJs programme and the One-Village-One-Dam (1V1D) among others noted that such positive attitude towards government programmes and policies was what government needed to develop the country.
He said the Sissala area was one of the important food baskets of the country, adding that government was therefore glad to note that its interventions were making a lot of impact on the lives of the people.
Dr Bin Salih was also happy that private investors were taking advantage of the enabling environment created by government through its flagship programmes to invest in the sector, thereby, creating jobs for the youth.
He said government was aware of the challenge of storage created by the increased productivity as a result of increased interventions, hence the decision to construct in each district one warehouse of 1,000 metric tone’s capacity to help famers store their produce against Post Harvest Losses (PHL).
He hinted of a regional stakeholder’s forum to proffer solutions to the challenges hampering agriculture in the region so that they could strategise in order to better the sector for the over 70 per cent of the region’s population that was dependent on the sector.
Mr John Dimah, Team Leader of GAB Ventures said the group had 350 farmers made up of 95 women, adding that they were expecting to harvest about 250,000 bags of maize from the 3000 acres of the crop cultivated.
He said the benefits of PFJs should not be narrowed down to only farmers as the whole district was benefiting in terms of revenue they paid to the District Assembly.
Mr Dimah who lamented the delay of subsidised fertilizer to farmers in the area this farming season due to heightened perceptions of smuggling, pleaded for the decoupling of farmer groups from commercial fertilizer dealers to enable easy access to fertilizer by farmers.
Madam Joy Okrah, Chief Executive Officer of Awo Fields said the group was into the cultivation of soya bean and sorghum across Nandom, Nadowli-Kaleo and Daffiama-Bussie-Issa Districts and had directly engaged 205 farmers including 14 women.
She said a lot of people from the area were passionate about going into farming but access to market was a challenge which Awo Fields sought to address.
Mr Emmanuel Sasu Yeboah, Upper West Regional Director of Agriculture noted that government increased the number of Agriculture Extension Agents in the region meaning farmers would now have access to technology to improve their farming.