Regional News of Friday, 25 October 2013
The Northern Rural Growth Programme (NRGP) will intensify efforts at promoting agricultural irrigation in the Upper West region to eliminate the perennial food insecurity that had bedeviled the region.
The region has numerous water bodies that could be tapped to transform agricultural production to lift rural people out of poverty but this opportunity has been neglected.
Mr. Roy Ayariga, National Coordinator for the Programme, who gave this assurance at this year’s celebration of International Day of Rural Women in Wa on Tuesday, said NRGP was seeking the support of chiefs and the District Assemblies to transform agriculture in the region.
Mr. Ayariga noted that rural women produced much of the food in the region and that the Programme had introduced a “women’s crops window,” through which women were being supported to produce specific crops like soya bean and moringa for export to improve their living standards.
According to him, the Upper West was gradually becoming food secured through irrigation of farmlands there, to the extent that the people currently preferred the dry season to the rainy season which they associated with disasters.
He noted that the potential of the region was far greater than the challenges; as some of its abandoned lands were considered the best in terms of fertility.
The NRGP Coordinator said the success of the programme had motivated other donors to contribute towards its expansion, adding that it would be expanded nationwide.
Dr Ephraim Avea Nsor, the regional minister, bemoaned the failure of numerous development interventions in the three Northern regions such as UWADEP and NORRIP to achieve their intended objectives.
He was however happy to note that NRGP was doing well in the region and commended the managers of the programme for making that possible.
He stressed the need for proper planning at all levels of the implementation stages of programmes, saying “without planning we will be wasting our time with development interventions."
The regional minister noted, “We should have a document that will focus on rural women consistently. We have to plan for the shea nut picker to be consistently affected.”
Dr Nsor called on NRGP to ensure that its policies and plans fitted well into the region's development plan.
The NRGP is an African Development Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Government of Ghana jointly funded project that aims to assist rural people in the three Northern regions to free them from extreme poverty.