Govt releases GH¢120 million to boost food production — Veep

The government has released GH¢120million to the rice, shea, cashew and agro-processing sub-sectors to boost food production for national consumption and export.

As a further boost to the agriculture sector the government would in the next five years invest GH¢3 billion in the construction of roads in cocoa-growing regions with the intention of facilitating the transportation of farm produce to the various market centres to help reduce post-harvest losses.

The Vice-President, Mr Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, made this known in a speech read on his behalf  by a Member of the Council of State, Mr David Kanga, at the 31st National Farmers, Day celebration in Bolgatanga Friday.

The celebration was on the theme “Transform Ghana: Invest in Agriculture”.

In all, 78 farmers across the country were honoured for their immense contribution to the development of agriculture.

Speech

The Vice-President, who was scheduled to grace the occasion, could not make it to Bolgatanga because of bad weather conditions which led to the cancellation of all flights to the northern part of the country.

In his speech, the Vice President said the government was of the belief that farmers deserved more for all the their toil and sacrifice, adding “we are giving them more to spur them on to do even better.”

He said the government was doing that with the conviction that the agricultural sector had the great potential that would require partnership with the private sector to take advantage of the investment climate for a mutually beneficial enterprise, and that in line with the government’s transformation agenda for the agricultural sector, the number of agricultural mechanisation service centres had been increased from 57 in 2009 to 89 in 2014, resulting in an increase in the total area of farms serviced by those centres by 56 per cent.

Support

Acknowledging the enormous potential agriculture had for providing sustainable employment, decent incomes and improved standard of living, as well as contributing to food security, the Vice-President stated that it was for those reasons that President John Mahama was calling for the transformation of the structure of the economy.

He said tractors, harvesters and other farm machinery had also been distributed to farmers across the country.

He said in the first half of 2016, the government expected to take delivery of 500 additional tractors and implements through a public private partnership for onward distribution to farmers.

The Vice-President said the government had undertaken new irrigation projects, resulting in the increase in the total area of irrigated land by six per cent between 2010 and 2014.

“Resulting from these interventions, food crop production increased by 34 per cent between 2008 and 2014. In the area of rice cultivation, for example, local production has more than doubled since 2008. These interventions have also been associated with improved food security,” he explained.

Apart from the farms, he said the government was also investing in projects to revamp the fisheries sub-sector.

Some of the projects, he said, were modern cold stores which had been completed at Prampram, Nyanyano, Shama, Sekondi-Takoradi, Half Assini and Kormantse.

We are also completing six landing sites with modern facilities, including cold stores, market stalls and children’s nurseries at Mumford, James Town, Teshie, Anloga, Tapa-Abotoase and Dzemeni.  An additional 25 landing sites are also in the planning stages,” Mr Amissah-Arthur added.

At Elmina, Mr Amissah-Arhtur said a fish processing plant was under construction.

The by-products of the fish processing plant, he said, would be used for the production of fish feed to boost aquaculture production.

He said the government was facilitating the acquisition and distribution of 3,000 outboard motors for fishermen following the distribution of 1,622 since 2010.

“We have distributed fish finders to fishermen to help them easily locate fish, we have also mounted tracking devices on all industrial trawlers and tuna vessels to control illegal fishing.  Work is progressing steadily on the Fisheries College at Anomabo,” he said.

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