Business News of Friday, 22 June 2012
The Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) is to establish a Tractor Assembly Plant in the Northern Ghana, to help boost agriculture.
The Plant which is expected to produce an average of 1,000 tractors a year is to satisfy both domestic needs, as well as international demand within the West African sub-region.
Siting of the new plant in the region had become necessary because of the enormous fallout from the activities of SADA.
This was made known by the Vice President, Mr. John Dramani Mahama, when he presented 100 tractors and other agricultural inputs valued about 24 million dollars to farmers, at a function in Tamale dubbed: “BRINGING PROSPERITY TO THE NORTHERN SAVANNAH”.
The deployment of the 100 tractors to the farmers was to provide speedy access to ploughing and harrowing for some 16,000 farmers throughout the SADA zone.
The function brought together all the Ministers and their representatives within the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone, to demonstrate their commitments to the ideas of a true government.
Vice-President John Mahama, described the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority, (SADA), as a “Tree of Life”, that must be nurtured into a process that will create more jobs and ensure the total transformation of the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone into a prosperous area in Ghana.
He, therefore, disabused the minds of Ghanaians in general and the indigenes of those areas in particular, over criticisms that the government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was not doing enough to support the project.
“Today marks the launching of an accelerated program that will allow the farmers of the northern Savannah areas to intensify their journey towards prosperity as part of the NDC’s “Better Ghana Agenda”, Mr. Mahama stressed.
In demonstrating how the better Ghana Agenda was unfolding to bring prosperity to the farmers and their families through SADA and other Government initiatives, the Vice-President mentioned that in 2011, SADA came to the rescue of over 6,000 farmers, whose livelihood were destroyed by the floods of 2010, by supplying them fertilizer, improved seeds and chemicals, as well as training, for them to undertake their farming activities last year.
This effort, according to Mr. Mahama, resulted in farmers increasing their maize yield by more than 30%. The support also enabled over 4,000 farmers to stay in the SADA zone and continue farming, instead of migrating to the South due to poverty.
“This year, SADA is targeting over 10,000 farmers, in addition to the original 6,000 targeted last year, making a total of 16,000 farmers across the entire northern Savannah.
“The package this year includes tractor support services, improved seeds, fertilizer, chemicals and a more intensive training on how to improve farm yields and income for ordinary farmers. Each farming-family is being allocated enough support for 1 hectare of either maize or soya beans: In line with the SADA strategy. Economic trees, such as mangoes, are also covered in this program”, he disclosed.
Mr. Mahama also mentioned that the government took delivery of over 16,000 bags of fertilizer, under the SADA-Millennium Villages Project as part of the programme launch.
“Government through SADA is intensifying efforts from all fronts to bring prosperity to our farmers. The tractors you see here today, will be owned and managed by the ordinary farmers themselves. As you can see, we have carefully selected a number of private sector firms and NGOs to support the farmers in their journey towards prosperity. Farmer-Based Organization (FBOs) groups will be assisted to become community-based enterprises, to own and manage these tractors.
“We are starting with 100 tractors to be allocated throughout all 50 Districts of the SADA zone”, he stressed.
The Vice-President also mentioned that Three-wheeler motor vehicles would soon be deployed to ensure that farm produce are transported easily; thereby, enhancing rural transportation, adding that “all these economic assets will be owned directly by the farmers, in a manner that will bring about sustainable development.”
He mentioned some few bold initiatives started by SADA and many of its partners such as: in collaboration with SADA, a Shea-butter processing factory has been established in the SADA zone. For the first time, the traditional picking of Shea-nuts for export is being transformed into a high value-added product, thereby, creating thousands of jobs, especially for women.
“A new cement factory has also been established in the SADA zone through public-private investment to boost the construction industry, and further create many jobs for our people”, he said.
Other programmes to be initiated by SADA include current planning for the construction of a multi-purpose hydro-electric dam and power supply scheme in the Pwalugu area of the Northern and Upper East regions, in collaboration with the VRA.
SADA is also in partnership with a private sector firm, Wienco Ghana Limited, to develop a special zone in the Sisilli-Kulpawn valley of the Upper West and Upper East regions.
Furthermore, a feasibility studies on an agro-industrial area is scheduled to begin in the Oti River Valley, covering parts of northern Volta and northern Brong-Ahafo regions.
Finally; with support from the World Bank and USAID, specific innovations to accelerate the development of agriculture are being initiated in the Northern Brong-Ahafo region and other areas of SADA.
The Regional Minister, Mr. Moses Mabengba noted that, the presence of all the Regional Ministers and District/Municipal Chief Executives goes to explain their commitment to the cause of SADA by the beneficiary Ministries and District assemblies.
He appealed for support from all Ghanaians, irrespective of one’s political position, for SADA to ensure the development of northern Savannah Ecological Zone.
For his part, the Chief Executive Officer of SADA, Alhaji Gilbert Iddi, mentioned that “SADA has embarked on an accelerated programme of agriculture modernization that will transform production, productivity and asset creation among millions of small-holder farmers in the northern savannah zone.”
The Vice-President later inspected on-going projects in the Tamale Metropolis and its environs. Among them was a Rice Processing factory at Nyankpala, which would serve as a ready-market for the farmers in the region.