The Upper East Region has celebrated its 31st Regional farmers’ Day at Zebilla in the Bawku West District, awarding 11 men and the Asuntaba Women’s group for being the best farmers in the Region.
Addressing the gathering on the theme of the Day: “Transform Ghana; Invest in Agriculture,” the Regional Minister, Mr James Zuugah Tiigah said government is putting in place policies and programmes to reduce constraints in the agriculture sector and make it rewarding since it is perceived as drudgery and risky.
Under the Livestock Development Project, 6000 small ruminants were distributed to farmers in six districts of the region while the Rice Sector Support Project assisted 1,744 farmers to develop lowland valleys for rice production in the region.
Mr Tiigah said the Ghana Commercial Agricultural Project assisted seven commercial farmers to produce rice and maize.
In the area of irrigation, the Regional Minister indicated that aside the two schemes being run by the Irrigation Company of the Upper Regions, and the Vea dam, the Northern Growth Programme (NRGP) is constructing two other irrigation schemes at Yarigu-Tienga and Googo both in the Bawku West District so that the agricultural potential of the region in the areas of tomatoes, rice, onion and pepper could be fully tapped.
The NRGP is also constructing the Fumbisi-Wiesi and other roads to link farmlands with markets. Other programmes and initiative in support of agriculture are the Roots and Tuber Improvement and Marketing Programme, Fertilizer Subsidy, Dry Season Support Initiative and the Village Mango Programme.
Mr Tiigah said the Bolgatanga Meat Factory, which has been out of operation for the past 20 years is currently under divestiture whilst the Northern Star Tomato Company Limited at Pwalugu is being financially re-engineered to resume production.
“Investment in agriculture has tipple effects on the growth of both the service and industrial sectors of our economy, with the right investment from the public and private sectors.
In view of this, government… in partnership with the private sector is implementing many opportunities including road and irrigation infrastructure to reduce transactional cost and increase efficiency in operations,” he said.
The Minister expressed gratitude to all companies and institutions especially World Vision Ghana and Kasapreko Company Limited for their contributions towards the programme nationwide.
He appealed for donations towards the National Celebration on December 4, at the Bolgatanga Senior High School Park.
Mr John Manu, Regional Director of Agriculture, congratulated the farmers and called for Public Private Partnership to support agricultural productivity.
The regional best farmer award went to Mr Lazarus Akundi, who was given a motor tri-cycle popularly called motorking, knapsack sprayer, two bags of fertilizer, two cutlasses, two pairs of wellington boots, four poly sacks, one water hose pump and a certificate of honour.
It was chaired by Chaina Peo, Pe Thomas Ditungdine Adiali Ayagtam III.
The event was also graced by the district chief executives, heads of department, opinion leaders and security services.