Regional News of Fri, 16 Jan 20040

Brong Afafo launches livestock development programme

Kintampo (B/A), Jan 16, GNA- The Ministry of Food and Agriculture on Thursday launched the Brong Ahafo Regional Livestock Development Project at Kintampo.

The government and African Development Bank (ADB) are funding the project under the theme "Livestock Production, Ghana's hope for food security, wealth creation and healthy people."

The project has five components of animal health, animal production, credit capacity building, and project management. On animal production, Mr Richard Assah Dartey, Deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Director of Ministry of Food and Agriculture explained that it consists of breed improvement, diary improvement, communal grazing and improvement, food quality control and provision of stock water. He said the breed improvement programme would cover both ruminants as well as non-ruminant livestock with the aim of increasing the indigenous breeding of livestock.

Mr Dartey said the diary breed improvement of cattle would be achieved through a cross breeding strategy, using artificial insemination as a tool.

He said 3.5 million dollars had been provided for the project. The Deputy Director said vast unimproved rangelands would be developed into productive graze lands for ruminant feeding.

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To achieve this, Mr Dartey, said 3,000 hectares of communal grazing land would be sown with legume seeds.

Dr Samuel Herbert Mark Poku, Regional Veterinary Development Officer of the Ministry, said the animal health component would be designed to provide the most congenial animal health environment to enable livestock to be productive.

He said the health component would focus on maintenance of a stable epidemic livestock disease and this would require effective disease surveillance network capable of detecting endemic disease and reacting promptly and appropriately.

The Veterinary Services will focus on controlling rabies and tuberculosis and emphasis would be on controlling rabies in dogs and other pets.

Dr Poku said a national anti-rabies campaign would soon be launched.

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Mr Martin Opoku, an official of Agricultural Development Bank, said the bank had been providing financial assistance to farmers, including livestock and poultry farmers, since its establishment. "The proposed intervention is in the right direction and it is to augment the bank's effort at increasing livestock production in the country", he said.

He said the project had made provision for credit facility for financing working capital in the short term, which is available for animal feed, drugs and veterinary services and sale of livestock and livestock products.

The long-term loan is up to three years and would be available for construction of storage facilities for animal feed and animal housing, purchase of livestock and purchase of processing equipment.

Mr. Yaw Agyei Duffour, Deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, appealed to beneficiary farmers to ensure that they used the money for the intended purposes to enable others to benefit from the scheme.

He appealed to those who would be involved in the disbursement of the fund, especially staff of Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the participating banks, to minimize delays in granting the loans. Mr Duffour cautioned that anyone caught setting fire during the dry season would not be spared.

Source: GNA

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