Regional News of 2013-12-09

Food security is vital for national development - DCE

Mr Issifu Alidu Laa-Bandow, Zabzugu District Chief Executive (DCE), says food security and nutrition is critical for the country’s development process.

He said government’s determination to have a healthy nation could only be achieved if people eat quality and nutritional food.

Mr Laa-Bandow was speaking at the district’s observation of the 29th National Farmers’ Day at Kupalgu in the Northern Region on the theme: Reducing post harvest losses for sustainable food security and nutrition.”

He said it is time for farmers to re-examine their agricultural practices from the time of preparing the land to the time the food reaches the final consumer.

He said the Youth in Agriculture Programme has provided seeds and agrochemicals for the cultivation of 300 acres of maize and 500 acres of rice involving 280 farmers in the district.

Mr Laa-Bandow said the beneficiaries are supposed to pay back the interest-free loan either in kind or cash after harvest.

The Savannah Accelerated Development Authority has also provided the district with farming inputs such as seeds, fertilisers and weedicides, and plough services to 600 farmers.

Touching on the government fertiliser subsidy programme, the DCE said 4,630 bags valued at Ghc236, 130, 00 were provided to the area.

Mr Laa-Bandow said if the subsidy is removed: “The market value of the quantity of fertiliser covered by the subsidy would have been Ghc347,250.00. The government paid for the difference of Ghc111,120.00.”

Mr Laa-Bandow said under the Rural Growth Programme, the District Agriculture Development Unit in partnership with the Association of Church Development Projects Networking for Development, facilitated the formation of 17 groups with a membership of about 176 males and 89 females.

Some of these groups have been linked to Bonzali Rural Bank in Yendi and have been supported with various sums of money for the cultivation of maize and soya beans to be paid at the end of the cropping season.

“I therefore urge farmers in the district to take advantage of this facility,” Mr Laa-Bandow said.

Mr Ali Y. Dasana, District Director of Agriculture, advised farmers to do timely harvesting of their crops and also practice control bush burning.

Twenty seven farmers were awarded at the ceremony with the best district farmer going to Yaw Dalabri from Gortani, who received a motor bike, two pair of wellington boots, five cutlasses, full pieces of wax print, a radio set, 10 jute and knapsack sprayer.