The Deputy Minister for Local government and Rural Development Hon Collins Ntim has opened a training session for over 40 Agricultural Extension Officers/Agents within the Ghana Social Opportunities program (GSOP) cashew zones, in Wenchi in the Brong Ahafo Region.
The program is the first of much other training for Extension Agents as part of the cashew project under the District center for Agricultural Commence and Technology (DCAT) and planting for Export and Rural development (PERD) programme.
Speaking at the four day program held in Wenchi Farm Institute, Hon Collins Ntim indicated governments commitment to fulfilling its core campaign promise in revamping and developing six selected tree crops namely Cashew, Coffee, Oil palm, coconut, citrus, and mango into cash crops, hence the rolled out of the planting for export and rural development ( PERD) program on January 15,2018 .
It will be noted that these are crops that have comparatively higher economic importance, sociocultural acceptance and most suitable to specific geographical areas in Ghana.
Hon Collins Ntim who is also the MP for Offinso North stated that, the high political commitment towards the implementation of the PERD programme especially the cashew component is to position Ghana to become the world’s leading producer of cashew in the next 5-10years.
He said the PERD program is not only expected to create jobs mostly for the youth and the unemployed graduates, but also to secure a sustainable supply of raw materials to support the government's decentralized industrialization drive through the one district one factory initiative.
He added that the ministry of local government and rural development has centrally procured and supplied 37 district assemblies with 1.2million poly bags and 10 number 80kg bags viable and high quality cashew seeds for the development of 3.7million seedlings to be supplied to farmers in respective districts whereas sites have been prepared with fencing and sheds ready with poly bags filled with treated soil ready to receive seeds.
With Agricultural Extension Officers/Agents been the key actors in providing extent ion services to the farmers in a carefully regulated environment with the appropriate husbandry practices required to ensure high germination rates, careful skills shall be required to graft quality scions onto germinated seedlings to ensure the plantation yields quality cashew fruits hence the 4days training.
The Offinso North Legislator reintegrated government’s resolve to eradicating poverty amongst our rural folks especially farmers by providing all the necessary resources ,guidance to ensure the achievement of establishing large plantations of cashew to feed the existing cashew processing plants at full capacity and for exports.
And urged the Agricultural Extension Officers/Agents to play a role cut out for them to ensure the establishment of quality and full one quarter hectare cashew nurseries to develop at least 1000 hectares of cashew plantation by the end of the 3rd quarter of this year in their respective district assemblies since it’s their mandate and what their success shall be measured by.