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General News Fri, 16 Jan 1998

Food Production In Southern Sector Satisfactory

Accra (Greater Accra) 14 Jan. '98

The food crop output for the southern regions in 1997 was satisfactory due to good rainfall distribution, the ministry of food and agriculture, said today. Mrs. Christine Obeng-Boampong, director of policy planning, monitoring and evaluation division, told the GNA in an interview that the Northern and Upper East Regions however, recorded poor out put due to unfavourable weather conditions. The Upper West Region expects to be self-sufficient in all major crops except rice. Compared to 1996 estimates, the year's preliminary estimates show an increased crop output. Stable to good output is expected in all regions, except Upper East Region. The interview was to find out how the country is preparing for the El Nino weather this year, expected to lead to dry conditions.

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El Nino is the warming of surface waters in the entire equatorial zone of the central and Eastern Pacific Ocean. Mrs. Obeng-Boampong said it appeared the weather was favourable last year because it even rained in December and vegetables like tomatoes which are usually scarce in December was much available. She, however, warned that if the rains delayed unduly this year, the prices of food would shoot up. Last year, the production of maize increased by 8.5 percent from 1.007 million tonnes in 1996. Mrs. Obeng-Boampong said based on domestic supply and demand, it is estimated that maize production would record a surplus of 12,000 tonnes. The production of rice went down by 5.2 per cent from 215,700 tonnes in 1996 while yam increased by 7.0 percent from 2.274 million tonnes. Plantain production increased by 2.9 percent to 1.877 tonnes but cocoyam and cassava production was stable. The output of millet at 193,300 tonnes in 1996 declined by 20.4 percent and sorghum also went down by 10.3 percent from 353,400 tonnes. Mrs. Obeng-Boampong said the ministry is in touch with the meteorological service department for any advice or warning which would be beneficial to farmers. gri

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