The forum, organised by the SADA Zone Civil Society Organisations, and led by the Northern Patriots in Research and Advocacy (NORPRA), was aimed at collating views and development priorities for the Authority to mainstream them into its Master and Medium Term Development Plans for the total transformation of the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone.
In their contributions, the participants including the youth, women and farmers groups drawn from the 13 Districts in the Region, emphasised the need for SADA to prioritise irrigation for all year round farming to ensure food security and eradication of extreme poverty.
They called on government and SADA to take immediate steps to revamp the defunct factories in the regions including the Pwalugu Tomato Factory, the Rice Mill and the Meat Factory for agro-processing and value addition of their farm produce.
“There is also the need for SADA to consider setting up a Farmers Resource Centres in each of the five regions in the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone to provide multiple services to the needs of farmers.”, the participants said.
Guinea fowl rearing and tree planting particularly shea plantation in the northern savannah areas, the group noted, continues to be viable and productive economic ventures with huge potentials to accelerate socio-economic development in the area for improved livelihoods of the people
“SADA should not to be discouraged by the poor implementation of the Guinea fowl and tree planting projects under the old leadership.”
They said SADA should rather be guided by lessons learnt from the failings of those projects and explore how things could be done differently.
This would ensure that the two projects are properly re-conceptualised, re-designed, re-packaged and rolled out with well -organised and credible citizens’ groups to transform the area to secure an improved quality of life of the people particularly women and young people.
The youth and women farmers groups urged SADA to, in line with its facilitation role and mobilisation of financial resources, facilitate youth and women farmers access to credit facilities with little or no interest rate.
Mr David Aniah Awine, Project Manager of Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled, in charge of the Region, on his part advocated the need for SADA to consider helping the Association to establish a chalk factory that would supply schools in the country.
He also expressed the need for skills training development for Persons with Disabilities and to empower them establish their businesses after completion.
The Project Coordinator of the SADA Zone Civil Society Organisations, Mr Bismark Adongo Ayorogo said the objective of the project was to mainstream inputs of the youth and women farmers groups into SADA Plans.
It was aimed at targeting the youth and women farmers since they are excluded and marginalised in the decision making process.
Mr Ayorogo stated that the Regional level Consultative Forum on the theme: “Collating the Inputs of Youth and Women Farmers into SADA Medium Term Development Plan, “ started in Wa in the Upper West Region on June 17 and would continue in the Volta, Northern and Brong Ahafo Regions”.
Mr Milting Aberinga, a member of SADA Zone Civil Society Organisations, said the Authority in its initial development stages, failed to engage stakeholders at the grassroots and that made some of its interventions such as the guinea fowl and the tree planting components to fail.
“In planning and implementation of projects meant for the grassroots, it is key for the lead implementing agency to consult people at the grassroots who the intervention is meant for or else the project or programme will fail”, he said.
The SADA Medium Term Development Plan is expected to be finalised in July to showcase the activities to be implemented in the subsequent years.