A total of 12,197 farmers in the Ho West District of the Volta Region are benefiting from Government’s flagship ‘Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ)’ programme.

The number represents a 100 per cent increase since the initiative was launched in 2017, with the registration of a total of 6,527 farmers.

Mr Seth Rashid Asuo, District Director of Agriculture, said at a press engagement at the Assembly that farmers had increased farm sizes as well as yields, thanks to the availability of subsidised inputs including improved seeds, and fertilizers.i

He said the increment in the number of agricultural technical officers also contributed to the success of the programme.

The Director said 1,315 farmers signed up for the Planting for Export and Rural Development module of Government’s agricultural initiative when it was launched in 2018, and that the Assembly was zoning suitable communities for large scale cultivation of six tree crops, which included citrus, cashew, oil palm, and coconut.

The Ho West District has been adjudged the best performing district in the implementation of the ‘Planting for Export and Rural Development’ initiative, and won a GHC1.5 million facility under the Ghana Social Safety Net Support Project.

The safety net support project, funded by the World Bank, seeks to fund initiatives towards fighting climate change, mostly afforestation.

Mr Ernest Apaw, the District Chief Executive (DCE), said the Assembly would utilise the facility to raise two million tree seedlings for free distribution.

He said over 25 boreholes, and 15 dugouts would be constructed to irrigate farms.

The Assembly also plans on promoting three additional tree crops, which includes nutmeg, and was engaging foreign experts to exploit fruit tree production.

The DCE also mentioned that with the facility, an 8km road from Amedzofe, Kpedze, Saviefe, and Hornuta would be opened up, to provide access to over 2000 acres of farmlands.

Mr Apaw said 30 and 50 farmers would benefit from piggery and poultry projects respectively under the ‘Rearing for Food and Jobs’ programme with subsided inputs.

He said among other interventions to be undertaken by the Assembly was the opening up of more access and farm roads.

Mr Apaw said the Assembly would also be renovating the Dededo Market, and establish a new food market at Saviefe.

The DCE advocated for increased patronage of organic agricultural products and announced plans to boost the harvesting of human and animal waste to feed farms.

He called on private investors to establish a rice mill in the District under the “One District One Factory” initiative, citing the increasing production of the crop.

The Meet the Press session is an initiative instituted by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in collaboration with the Ministry of Information, which mandates Local Assemblies to hold quarterly engagements with the media.

The engagements are to enable the Assemblies account to the public, and is part of Governments efforts at promoting transparency, accountability, and public participation.

The media was shown around the Assembly’s model farm at its premises, which included 500 trees of high yielding hybrid citrus, as well as an experimental field of organic and inorganic corn.

The Assembly had also set up nurseries across the District and was training farmers on grafting hybrid fruit trees.

The DCE called on the youth to take up serious agriculture, saying “in this time and age, if you are not into agriculture, you are losing out big time”.

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