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More is needed to support agriculture – Ntim

By Bajin
D. Pobia, GNA

Wa, July 30, GNA – Mr Collins Ntim, Deputy
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, has said the performance of
Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies in the promoting and supporting
agriculture to address poverty has not been encouraging.

He said farmers have continued to wallow in
poverty and not much by way of local interventions had been achieved with rural
poverty being exacerbated with the impact of climate change on agriculture.

Mr Ntim said MMDAs have been performing
creditably over the years when it comes to formulation of agriculture sector
policy, minimal provision of extension services and irrigation dams among
others.

He said the challenge of government over the
years has been how to come out with sustainable local interventions, strategies
and programmes that had the potential of creating jobs for the teaming
unemployed youth to address the challenge of rural poverty.

Mr Ntim was addressing municipal and district
chief executives, district coordinating directors, planners, budget officers,
and a cross section of heads of departments and agencies at the launch of the
“Planting for Jobs and Investments” programme in Wa on Wednesday.

The “Planting for Jobs and Investments”
programme is to complement the “Planting for Food and Jobs” initiative, as a
key strategy intervention to cover six identified cash crops, namely cashew,
shea, mango, citrus, cocoa, rubber and oil palm.

“Government will pay special attention to
selected products for accelerated development including grains, fruits,
vegetables, tubers oil palm, cashew, shea, cocoa, coconut, horticulture and
livestock and fisheries”, he said.

Mr Ntim said poor funding for agriculture at
the local level, inadequate budget provision and releases under the composite
budgeting system, and weak incorporation of the department of agriculture into
the district assembly system had impacted negatively on agricultural
development.

He said government is embarking on the
modernisation of agriculture to ensure food security as well as producing
quality raw materials for industries through the “one district one factory”,
“one village one dam” programme to enhance livelihoods and incomes.

The “Planting for Food and Jobs initiative
would take on board, cereals, legumes, and vegetables which would become a
flagship programme in Ghana.

GNA

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