The Bekwai Municipal Directorate of Food and Agriculture is strengthening the capacities of farmers and resourcing them with high yielding oil palm seedlings to help increase and expand the cultivation of the crop in the municipality.
The objective is to make the municipality the hub of bulk palm oil production in the Ashanti region.
The directorate, in collaboration with the Municipal Assembly, had already supplied over 300,000 high yielding and pest resistant oil palm seedlings to interested farmers to cultivate in their farms.
Mr. Emmanuel Mensah, Municipal Director of Agriculture, who made this known to the Ghana News Agency, said about 45 percent of the seedlings were handed over to women farmers in the area to cultivate.
This, according to him, was part an elaborate programme designed by MoFA aimed at training and resourcing women farmers with modern skills and best agronomic practices to improve on their crop yields and farm production to maximize profit and enhance their living standards.
Mr Mensah, who was speaking on the sidelines of this year’s International Rural Women’s Day, organized by SOCODEVI, a Canadian organization for women in the municipality, said women in the area were playing leading roles in food production in the municipality.
He said oil palm production had been one of the major farming activities of the people in the area and resourcing them with planting materials and training could help bolster production and refining of palm oil into cooking oils and other products.
Mr Mensah said women who were already in the processing of palm oil production had worked to ensure best practices.
He applauded those women who continued to advance the production of palm oil by branding their products to suit bigger market standards and said the directorate would continue to support them in that direction.
“I believe that you continue to keep to best production practices, the oil products can even be exported to other countries”, he stated.
On other farming activities in the area, Mr Mensah said the directorate had trained many women in modern ways of rice cultivation and production.
According to the Director, the farmers were now cashing in on rice production in the area and performing other tasks, such as planting for other farmers in other districts for money.
The directorate was also supporting women farmers to rear goats to serve as alternative livelihoods when the major crop seasons were over.
Mr. Mensah stated that about 20 women had so far been involved in the goat rearing programme.
He advised the farmers, especially women, to be self-confident and take up new challenging roles in farming.