Regional News Tue, 10 Nov 2009

Block Farms pilot project makes progress - Coordinator

Tamale, Nov. 10, GNA - The National Coordinator of the Block Farms Programme, Mr. Emmanuel Churuyona Akuna, has said the pilot programme initiated by the government dubbed the "Block Farms" had made progress with 5,009 farmers cultivating a total of 4,939 hectares of land in the Northern region with a greater yield expected at harvest.

He said 13,440 bags of maize grain were expected from 768 hectares, 89,212.5 rice from 3,965 hectares, 1,560 from 96 hectares of soybeans from the pilot project while the project was expected to expand to other parts of the country next farming season.

Mr. Akuna was speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview on Monday on the progress of the pilot project of the block farms concept adopted by the Mill's administration during the 2009 cropping season. He said the initiative was aimed at improving agriculture and farming as an innovative business that could reduce the unemployment situation in the country if people especially the youth got interested in farming. The National Coordinator of the programme said it involves targeting large tracks of arable land in blocks for the production of commodities which had comparative advantage in specific areas and locations. He said the beneficiary farmers were supported with land preparation and inputs such as fertilizers by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and recoveries would be made from the farmer's produce based on the amount of support farmers received. Mr. Akuna said the pilot programme was implemented in ten selected districts in the Northern region and they were; East Gonja, Central Gonja, Gushegu, Karaga, Savelugu/Nanton, Tamale, Tolon/Kumbungu, West Gonja, West Manprusi and Yendi municipality. He said 20 combined harvesters for rice and 20 for maize would be arriving in the country soon for the three Northern regions to support farmers harvest their produce while 17 existing ones were being rehabilitated. 10 Nov.09

Source: GNA