“Planting for Jobs and Investments” Programme launched in UWR

By Bajin
D. Pobia, GNA

Wa, July 30, GNA – Government has initiated a
key strategy intervention to cover cashew, shea, mango, citrus, cocoa, rubber
and oil palm under its “Planting for Jobs and Investments” programme.

The programme, which is the second flagship
programme of the government, is to complement the “Planting for Food and Jobs
initiative and help boost investor confidence in the availability of raw
material base to create a significant job opportunities in the country”.

Under the programme, Metropolitan, Municipal
and District Assemblies (MMDAS) would be required to come out with an
agricultural project initiative taking into consideration one or two of the
identified cash crops with a budget that would support 10,000 to 20,000 farmers
to cultivate and average of 10 acres of the crops within the next four years.

Mr Collins Ntim, Deputy Minister of Local
Government and Rural Development, made this known at the launch and
sensitisation forum of the programme for the Upper West Region held in Wa on

He said all MMDAs are expected to submit their
project proposals to the Ministry by the end of September and those proposals
should be in alignment with the medium term development plans of the MMDAs and
in consultation with Department of Agriculture.

The MMDAS would be required to establish seed
banks in the electoral areas that would raise improved and high yielding
varieties seedlings as approved for the district to be allocated to the

They would also be required to recruit 100
youth, in every district who would be trained to support the farmers to plant
the seedlings.

Mr Ntim said it is envisaged that about two to
three million farmers would be supported and registered, while biometric data
base and global position system mapping on all the farmers and their farms and
plantation would be established.

“This project seeks to position Ghana as a
leading producer of cocoa and cashew in the world in the next four to 10
years”, he said.

The Deputy Local Government Minister said
three million farmers would be mobilised into cooperatives and global position
system mapping and data base of all the farmers would be established for the
private sector to link up to establish the necessary value addition linkages.

He said every district would be equipped with
a one stop centre that would spearhead government’s commercial, entrepreneurial
and agribusiness initiatives through the MMDAs.

District Centre for Agriculture Commerce and
Technology (DCACT) would be established to enhance government’s drive for
industrial revolution through the various districts, with a mandate to promote
agribusiness to facilitate an interface between the private and public sector
at the district level.

The MMDAs would identify and develop two major
food and cash crops and livestock into exportable product.

The MMDAs would also attract investment in
agro processing at the districts to add value to agricultural produce for
domestic industrial use, implement government policy on agribusiness and
sustainable agricultural value chain and establish and maintain electronic data
base on all commercial, entrepreneurial and agricultural initiatives.

Mr Ntim said major storage warehouse, district
agriculture pension trust and district land banks for specific strategic
investor and commodities exchange platforms through a geographic information
software would be developed for easy efficient accessibility, attracting and
stimulating business.

Dr Nurah Gyiele, Minister of State in charge
of Food and Agriculture, said the selected crops had the potential to help
address food security and enhance economic livelihoods of the people especially
those in the north.

He said farmers always depended on rain fed
agriculture to produce and when the rains failed, farmers are worst hit hence
the need to consider alternatives such as cash crops to complement income

He urged farmers to protect the shea from
wanton destruction while they strived into cashew and mango production and
guard against bushfires.

Mr Sulemana Alhassan, Upper West Region
Minister, government pro-poor interventions would improve the living conditions
and incomes of the people.

He said smuggling of fertilizers and other
farm inputs were challenges which could affect the successful implementation of
the Planting for Food and Jobs programme and urged the security agencies,
district assemblies and traditional authorities to develop strategies to curtail
the act.


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