Mr Bediako Kwadwo Banahene, the District Chief Executive (DCE) of the Sekyere Central District of Ashanti, has appealed to the government to prioritize the construction of a bridge over River Afram, on the Nkudua-Aframso stretch of road, which links some of the food producing communities to Nsuta, the district capital.
He has also as matter of urgency appealed for the construction of the 52 kilometer Nkudua-Aframso stretch, which is in a deplorable condition and perceived to get worse as the rains set in.
The DCE making the appeal through the Ghana News Agency at Nsuta, said the lack of a bridge and the bad condition of that stretch, was affecting the economic fortunes of farmers in the peripheral communities on the other side of the river, who were completely cut-off from the capital.
Mr Banahene expressed worry that the situation was making the District Assembly lose revenue to Ejura, a sister district, as farmers of these communities, known for high food production, were compelled to make a detour to Ejura, on market days to sell their produce.
“Communities along that stretch of road, are known food baskets in the District, thus the construction of the stretch and the bridge will help the District plough in for development, the market tolls, flying out to the other District.
The communities include; Ankamadua, Gariba Akuraa, Asare Nkwanta number 1 and two, among others.
To buttress the food productivity potential of the District, Mr. Charles Adu, the District Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), using the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme, in the District as a case study, told GNA when he was contacted, that last year, a total of 2,418 acres of maize were cultivated by 958 farmers in the District under PFJ.
For rice, 492 acres were also cultivated last year under the PFJ and these involved 92 rice farmers.
This year, he said, the District was targeting 3,500 acreage of lands and 1,200 farmers under the maize component of the PFJ and so far 3,200 acres of land had been cropped with 1,050 farmers participating.
Still on rice, a target of 1,000 acreage of land and 400 farmers was the focus, whiles 750 acres of rice land had so far been cultivated by 375 farmers.
He added that 150,000 seedlings of cashew were given to the farmers last year and an additional 300,000 seedlings of cashew were being given to the farmers free of charge this year under the Planting for Exports and Rural Development (PERD) programme.
Mr. Adu said that the main challenge that confronted the Ministry last year under the PFJ was the fact that the seeds of carrot and cabbage that were distributed to farmers were not the preferred choice, which hindered most of them to undertake the cultivation.
He said the necessary arrangements have been made this year to curtail the situation and meet the demands and preferences of the farmers in that regard.