Farmers in the Upper East Region have been advised to use early maturing and draught resistant seedlings during this year’s farming season.
Reverend John Manu, the Upper East Regional Director of the Ministry of Food Agriculture (MOFA), gave the advice in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga.
He suggested seedlings such as Obaatanpa maize and Agra rice to facilitate early maturity and harvest.
“For early yielding crops we are targeting Omankwa and Obaatanpa, but I will recommend the Obaatanpa maize and Agra rice because of the rain in the season”.
He said the “planting for food” programme which is being piloted this year would be scaled up to include livestock rearing and other agri-businesses.
The programme is aimed at increasing agricultural productivity and ensuring sustainable supply of food at cheaper cost while creating jobs for the youth.
The Director further advised farmers not to delay in planting their crops this season and urged them to seek expert advice to know the kind of chemicals to use for their crops.
“I encourage farmers to get in touch with the Department, adopt new technology, and apply it in their farms,” he stressed.
The Director indicated that the Upper East Region has about 2000 farmers who have registered for the planting for food programme and said the Ministry was expecting about 3000 farmers to start this year’s phase.
Reverend Manu said most of the preparatory works to start the programme had been done including a regional launch, the formation of regional and district technical committees to make it successful.
He added that extension officers had been trained to train some selected farmers who would serve as trainers to their colleagues on the programme.
Rev. Manu stated that the government in conjunction with the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) would recruit some unemployed graduates in agricultural studies at the tertiary level to support the programme.
He emphasised that farmers have been prepared in the Region for the “planting for food” initiative and said fertilizers have been distributed at the district levels. “My districts have been prepared and currently fertilizers are moving from the region to the district levels”.
He said the programme was initiated to ensure that there was abundant food and jobs for the youth in the region as well as the provision of subsidized farm inputs such as fertilizers, seedlings and agrochemicals.