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General News of Tuesday, 15 July 2003

Source: GNA

Quashigah opens workshop for citrus farmers

Okumaning-Kade (E/R), July 15, GNA - Major Courage Quashigah, Minster of Food and Agriculture, has said production of non-traditional export crops especially citrus fruits had been on the increase and attributed it to the enthusiasm of the farmers.

He said increase in production had resulted in increased export and expressed appreciation to some private companies, officials in the Ministry and the Ghana Export Promotion Council and other allied agencies.

Major Quashigah said this when he addressed farmers from the Eastern, Western and Central Regions at a workshop for Citrus Growers and Marketing Association of Ghana at the University of Ghana Agricultural Research Station at Okumaning, near Kade.

He said export data on citrus showed that fresh citrus exported in 2000 gave Ghana 248,000 dollars.

The Minister said even though citrus production was one of the oldest commercial farming activities in the country citrus growers had not been supported with modern techniques to help them increase yields. He said to assist citrus farmers to combat problems such as virus infested seedlings the Ministry was making efforts to make available to farmers virus free planting materials.

Mr Yaw Yiadom Boakye, Kwaebibirem District Chief Executive, advised the farmers to unite at all times to enable them to help to develop the citrus industry.

He appealed to the research scientists to continue to assist the farmers to improve the agriculture sector.

Dr K.G. Ofosu-Buda, Senior Research Officer in charge of the University of Ghana Agricultural Research Station, said the citrus industry had for the years not been improved due to certain problems.

''These are lack of technical information on the part of some farmers, lack of credit facilities and absence of reliable local markets.''

He appealed to the government for support to establish a greenhouse and a laboratory to assist in training farmers and all those who wanted to go into agriculture.

Mr Appiah-Amankwah, National Chairman of the Citrus Growers and Marketing Association of Ghana, advised the farmers to unite and be bold to present their aims, objectives and problems to the government for assistance.