Cocoa-sacks

The Northern Rural Growth Programme (NRGP), is to build a 2000-tonne capacity warehouse in the Tain District of the Brong Ahafo Region, to store grains such as maize, soybean and sorghum.

These grains are produced in farming communities in the district.

Mr Francis Ennor, District Director of Agriculture told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview at the weekend that the facility forms part of measures to reduce post harvest losses in the district.

The NRGP is an eight-year project seeking to promote sustainable agriculture, as a mechanism to guarantee food security and also improve the livelihood of people in the beneficiary areas.

It is being funded jointly by the African Development Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development and the Government.

Mr Ennor said farmers in Tain grow variety of food crops, namely yam, pepper, plantain, cocoyam, groundnut, maize and cowpea, as well as cash crops like cashew and cocoa but due to unavailability of storage facility, some go waste.

He explained that other farmers also store produce in their rooms and barns under very poor conditions.

?Each year, large quantity of maize goes waste as a result of poor storage and this leads to huge income losses on the part of farmers and their families. It also tends to impact negatively on food security,? he said.

Mr Ennor lauded the proposed construction of the warehouse adding ?this has come as good news to farmers and other stakeholders in Tain.?

?In 2012, for instance, a total area of 2,266 hectares of maize was cultivated and it yielded 4,386 metric tonnes. For sorghum, a total of 147 hectares was cropped and it yielded 176 metric tonnes,? he said.

Mr Ennor said the consultants are yet to present the design before construction gets underway at Badu.

He said the provision of the warehouse would also transform Badu into a major maize market.

?There are many buyers of maize, some of whom sell the maize to big poultry farms and so when the warehouse is ready, it would make it easy for them to come and buy the maize in large quantities,? he said.

Mr Ennor said the production of maize in the district had increased in the last two years due to adoption of good agronomic practices that have been introduced to the farmers through the NRGP project.

These practices, he mentioned, include application of the right amount of fertilizer at the appropriate time, adherence to improved soil fertility management techniques, weeding, planting, spraying and harvesting at the right time.

?Before the project, the farmers were getting between four and five bags of maize per acre, but now they get up to 12 bags or more,? he noted.

The only challenge remains the erratic rainfall pattern.

Mr Roy Ayariga, National Co-ordinator told GNA that all the districts in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions and five other districts in the Brong Ahafo Region are benefiting from the project.

Sene, Pru, Tain, Kintampo North and Kintampo South are the five districts beneficiary from the Brong Ahafo Region.

Source: GNA

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