|Mr. Drissa Ouattara, the Dormaa Central Municipal Chief Executive, on Thursday presented 60, 000 cashew seedlings and 455, 000 coffee seedlings to be freely distributed to interested farmers in the Municipality under the Planting for Export and Rural Development(PERD) programme. |
He said the seedlings were raised with funding from the District Assemblies Common Fund(DACF) as part of a drive and efforts by government to check unemployment in the area and help industrialise the economy through ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ agenda.
Mr. Ouattara made the remark at a ceremony held at the frontage of the Municipal Department of Food and Agriculture to present those seedlings to 55 cashew and coffee farmers who attended as well as staff of Dormaa Municipal Assembly, Municipal Department of Agriculture and some personnel of the National Service Scheme(NSS) in the Dormaa Central Municipality.
He said to give expression to government’s determination and commitment at ensuring prudent management of and industrialisation of the national economy, district assemblies nationwide were directed to consult farmers in local communities to determine which cash crops they wanted to cultivate in their areas.
“In the Dormaa Central Municipality, the farmers based on a consensus settled on cashew production. This saw the raising of 35,000 cashew seedlings from the nursery site and, subsequently, free distribution of these seedlings to interested farmers last year as part of measures to scale up the production of this particular crop in the area, ” he indicated.
He added that the construction of a warehouse facility for the Municipality under the one district, one warehouse initiative(1d1w) has been completed in Atesikrom, a suburb of the Municipality with works on its laboratory unit on-going.
“If in future the Municipality becomes a leading producer of cashew, the government would not hesitate to set up a cashew factory with raw materials readily available to feed the factory. If for any reason you find some difficulty storing your farm produce you can send your food items to the warehouse for storage until the time you want them for whichever purpose, ” he told the farmers.
Mr. Munkaila Jawad, the Municipal Director of Food and Agriculture, indicated that out of the 80,000 projected target for cashew seedlings production this year, 60,000 of the seedlings have so far been raised and were ready for onward distribution to interested farmers.
“There are plans to reach 2,000 cashew farmers in the area with the seedlings this year, the Assembly and my outfit are seriously working together towards the realization of that objective ” he stated.
He explained that in undertaking their routine monitoring schedules last year, their field officers found out that some of the farmers who had collected cashew seedlings for cultivation never planted the seedlings but rather decided to dump them under trees and expressed worry about the situation.
“You were not forced to cultivate the seedlings, you registered to receive them yourself so make good use of the opportunity by avoiding the wastefulness, ” he advised.
The Municipal Director of Food and Agriculture, entreated them to change their attitude and justify the huge investment government was making on them.
He said it was government’s plan to boost the production of cashew and was aiming to engage 1 million cashew farmers nationwide, stressing in the Municipality 700 cashew farmers were registered last year.
Mr. Jawad assured the farmers that the nursing and production of the cashew seedlings were conducted using improved technology and was highly likely to generate positive yields for them.
The Municipal Director of Food and Agriculture urged them to report any findings or problems related to the usage of the cashew seedlings to his outfit.
Mr. Laud Nunoo Ntreh, Officer, Seed Production Division, COCOBOD, Dormaa Ahenkro Coffee Station, indicated that out of a projected target of raising 510,000 coffee seedlings this year, his outfit nursed 455,000 seedlings representing 80 per cent of projected target.
He said the decision to produce the seedlings were reached following a joint agreement between the Food and Agriculture Ministry, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and COCOBOD to promote the planting of those seedlings due to its robust nature and ability to withstand threats posed by climate change.
“Coffee grows faster and takes almost two years to harvest, ” he added.
Mr. Nunoo Ntreh said the Ghana COCOBOD, Coffee Federation of Ghana and the Ministry of Local Government have already drafted laws which were yet to be passed by Parliament to make the smuggling of the commodity to neighbouring countries criminal and unattractive to offenders.
He assured the farmers of ready market for their coffee after harvesting stressing “there are buyers all over the place who are willing and waiting for things to be effectively streamlined to purchase from farmers and producers”.
The stated that COCOBOD has introduced a coffee farmers pass book which would enable them to efficiently track and monitor the activities of farmers and with the sole objective of safeguarding the wasteage of resources invested on the PERD coffee growing project.
The Seed Production Division Officer added that the coffee seedlings were raised at three nursery sites at Akontanim, Mewerenfiriwuo, and Kofi Nti sheds in the Dormaa East District to serve the Dormaa enclave which also comprises Dormaa Central Municipality and Dormaa West District.
The MCE also used the occasion to present 13 new Derby Galaxy motor bicycles to extension officers to help them in the discharge of their work in the area.
The Municipal Director of Food and Agriculture thanked the MCE and promised to use them for its intended purpose.
Mr. Drissa Ouattara took time to inspect cashew seedlings at the nursery site of the Municipal Department of Food and Agriculture.