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Regional News of Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Source: GNA

Government will ensure peace during December polls - Darko-Mensah

Western Regional Minister, Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah Western Regional Minister, Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah

The Western Regional Minister, Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, has appealed to security agencies and other election related agencies to discharge their mandate professionally.

This, he said should be in an uncompromising manner, in order to ensure peace and public safety before, during and after the December polls.

He said the government was committed to ensuring free and fair elections come December 7, 2020, and urged politicians not to incite innocent electorates against one another.

Mr Darko-Mensah who said this at the first meeting of the Western Regional Coordinating Council in Takoradi,indicated that vigilantism unfortunately was becoming a bane in their body politic.

He said government had however demonstrated its commitment to ending the canker by the promulgation of the Vigilantism and Related Offences Act of 2019 (Act 999).
He commended the people of the Region for a peaceful voter registration exercise and urged them to continue similarly in coming days.

He said Chieftaincy Disputes in the Region, posed serious threats to the peace and security of the Region, notwithstanding their efforts.

"Almost all the Districts in the Region have one issue or the other, with protracted chieftaincy disputes at Dixcove, Fijai, Essipon, Komfueku, Ateiku, Dompim-Pepesa and Shama".

Mr Darko-Mensah said under the government Flagship Projects including; Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), a total of 841.25 metric tonnes of fertilizers were received by the districts and 632.3 metric tonnes distributed to 4,167 farmers, made up of 3,197 males and 970 females across the Region and applied to 5,305.8 hectares (ha) of farm area.

In terms of improved seeds, he said a total of 8,848 farmers, comprising 6,230 males and 2,618 females were supplied.

On Acquaculture for Food and Jobs (AFJ) he pointed out that the programme was in response to growing concerns over Ghana’s depleting fish stocks and that it would contribute to adequate supply of fish all year round and create employment, especially in coastal communities.

He announced that the Wassa East District was selected to pilot the programme in the Western Region and that meeting with relevant stakeholders had taken place and suitable sites were selected and 10 fish ponds would be constructed for four Youth Groups in the district.

He said the Daboase SHS would also benefit from four fish ponds as part of their school agriculture programme and as a training centre also for prospective fish farmers in the Region.

Six others bringing to twenty (20) fish ponds are to be established, he added.
On Planting for Export and Rural Development, the Minister said all MMDAs in the Region were on board the project, focusing on selected cash crops and far, 40,279 coconut seedlings were nursed, out of which 21,918 distributed and transplanted on 19.64 ha of land.

Out of 590,000 cocoa seedlings nursed, 75,460 have been distributed and transplanted on 67.07 (ha) of farm area, additionally, 165,907 seedlings were raised in respect of oil palm seedlings, whilst 43,165 seedlings were distributed and transplanted on 288.0 (ha) of farm area.

The Minister said five Million Coconut Seedlings Project was on course and started with the establishment of two new Coconut Seed Gardens in the Shama and Jomoro Districts, in addition to the existing two, at Aiyinase and Bonsaso, to produce enough hybrid seedlings.

He said the two new nurseries produced an initial seedling population of 11, 000, the initiative he noted to revamp the coconut industry in the Region.
"All these crops are doing well, and when the fruits are harvested, good incomes should follow the employment so generated and additional jobs and incomes will be generated along the value chain as the years go by".

On rearing for Food & Jobs (RFJ), he explained that the programme would develop a competitive and efficient livestock industry to increase domestic production, reduce importation of livestock products and contribute to employment generation and improve upon livelihoods for livestock value chain actors.

He said five Districts were selected to pilot the project expected to restart but the swine fever scare in the latter part in 2019 caused its suspension.
Mr Darko-Mensah said a total of 625 breeder pigs would be distributed to 125 farmers from the selected districts namely: Ahanta West, Nzema East, Tarkwa-Nsuaem, Amenfi East and Amenfi West.

On One District, One Factory (1D1F), Mr Darko-Mensah said out of the approved 24 projects, only Keda Ceramics in the Shama District was operational and that the rest complained of their inability to obtain funding, although their applications have were lodged with designated banks such as EXIM, GCB, ADB, and UMB, a long time ago.
He appealed to the commercial banks to offer financial credit to promoters of businesses under the 1D1F.

He said the region wasone of the most hit with COVID-19, as active cases as at Monday, 24th August 2020, stood at fifty-four out of a cumulative number of two thousand, nine hundred and forty-eight positive cases.

Mr Darko-Mensah pleaded with members of the communities to continue to comply with the safety protocols rather than waiting for enforcement by the Security Agencies.