Alhaji Amidu Sulemana, the Upper West Regional Minister, has appealed to Municipal and District Assemblies to continue to give priority to agriculture in their development agenda by stepping up investment in the sector.
Alhaji Sulemana, who made the appeal at a Sissala Youth forum in Gwollu, also appealed to traditional rulers to make land available to enable the youth and women to go into agriculture.
The Regional Minister commended Youth Vision Organisation for organising the forum to educate and encourage the youth of the area to go into agriculture.
He urged the youth to take advantage of the several programmes and projects initiated by the government to boost agricultural production in the country.
These programmes are the Youth in Agriculture Programme, the “Block Farming” programme, the Northern Rural Growth Programme, the Government subsidized Fertilizer Programme, the Sustainable Land and Water Management Project as well as the AGRA Soil Fertility Demonstration project.
Alhaji Sulemana added that government was also assisting livestock farmers under a project known as the Livestock Development Project to increase livestock breeding.
He said Ghana’s agricultural strategy was consistent with the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), which is being championed by the African Union and implemented under the Medium Term Agricultural Sector Investment Sector Plan (METASIP, 2011-2015).
He said METASIP was based on a well-coordinated strategy of land development with associated mechanization of farm activities, improved seed adoption, increased fertilizer use, increased irrigation, water and sustainable land management and enhanced post-harvest management.
Alhaji Sulemana said the emphasis of the strategy was to reduce the drudgery in agriculture and to improve productivity.
He said the focus of the strategy was the empowerment of small, medium and large scale farmers with emphasis on women farmers, to enable them acquire and use appropriate modern technologies to make farming in Ghana a business rather than a way of life.
Ms. Rhoda Zolko-ree, Secretary, Youth Vision Organisation, said the youth in the area had interest in farming but lacked skill and financial support that would enable them go into agriculture as a full time business.
She said the forum was therefore meant to enlighten participants on how to access financial support to enable them take up farming as a full time business.
Kuoro Kuri Limann Buktie, the Paramount Chief of Gwollu Traditional Area who chaired the function, appealed to government to pass the law on felling down of trees for charcoal production to prevent people from destroying the forest.**