Business News of 2013-12-11

AMA to acquire lands for farmers 2014

The Mayor of Accra, Dr. Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, has disclosed that the Assembly is in the process of acquiring arable land in nearby Districts for use by farmers to ensure food security in the country.

The Accra Mayor revealed that the assembly in collaboration with the Ministry of Fisheries and Aqua Culture will from next year start aquaculture programs where fish ponds will be constructed in various places to produce different varieties of fishes.

This initiative, according to Dr. Vanderpuye, will materialize by the close of next year.

“It has been estimated that, by the year 2030, about two-thirds (2/3) of the world’s population will be living in the cities. Thus, urbanization is fast contributing to the growth of urban areas and centers.

Accra to a large extent is already experiencing the phenomenon and therefore there is intense competition between man and houses, and for that matter agriculture. It is for this reason that the Assembly is in the process of acquiring arable lands in nearby districts for farmers.”

Dr Vanderpuije made the disclosure when he addressed the 29th Farmers’ Day celebration at Kotobabi in the Ayawaso District of the Greater Accra Region.

Themed: “Reducing Post Harvest Losses For Sustainable Food Security And Nutrition,” the event brought together the Member of Parliament for Ayawaso West-Wuogon, Hon Henry Quartey, the Accra Metropolis 2012 Best Farmer, Baba Mohammed, as well as some assembly members within the Metropolis.

Dr. Okoe Vanderpuije indicated government’s commitment to continue to ensure that fertilizers are sold to farmers at subsidized prices in order to guarantee their continuous access to fertilizer and seeds sold at affordable prices.

He intimated that, in 2013 crop season, NPK fertilizer was sold at Ghc51.00, Sulphate Ammonia was sold at Ghc44.00 whilst Urea was sold at Ghc50.00.

He averred that without the subsidies, farmers would have to pay Ghc71.50 for a bag of NPK, Ghc68.00 for Urea and Ghc48.00 for Sulphate of Ammonia; adding that, in all, government is absorbing about 50% of the subsidies.

The Mayor disclosed that a total of 1,326 bags of fertilizer were received and sold through distributors this crop season, indicating that the subsidized fertilizers are meant to boost agricultural production and not to be sold illegally. “It is incumbent on us all to fight against the nefarious activities of the few who try to outsmart the system.”

Touching on the livestock sector, the Mayor announced that the Credit-In-Kind Scheme, which was introduced in 2012 as a poverty alleviation and livelihood support to beneficiaries within the metropolis is yielding results.

According to him, the initial 800 animals, which were received by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture [MOFA] and the AMA were distributed to 8 farmers during the first distribution, and that the transfer of animals from the first batch of recipients to a new batch is underway.

He disclosed that, so far, 20 farmers have received 200 animals, and that the MOFA and AMA is carrying out vaccination of live stocks within the Metropolis under the Petis Ruminates (PPR) programme.

In all, 20 individuals and organizations were awarded in different categories with Mr. Seidu Ibrahim, a 63-year-old farmer with 23 years farming experience, emerging the overall best farmer in the Accra Metropolis.

The mayor congratulated the awardees and urged them to work harder to ensure food security and availability in the country.

He also commended the non-winners for their contributions to food production in the country.