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Business News of Monday, 27 May 2013

Source: GNA

700,000 farmers in Ghana to benefit from new crop technologies

About 700,000 farmers in Ghana are to benefit from the introduction of improved new varieties of cereal and tuber crops developed by research scientists in the sub-region during the first phase of the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP).

The Scientists developed 31 new technologies for the production of cassava, yam, coco yam, maize and other cereals, which when adopted for cultivation by the farmers would increase their yields by about 15 per cent.

Mr. Emmanuel Alorigiya, Communication Officer of the Project Coordinating Unit of WAAPP made this known at a one-day sensitization and awareness creation workshop on WAAPP, organized for agricultural officers, farmers and media personnel in the Upper West region at Wa on over the week end, as a prelude to the implementation of the second phase of the programme.

The first phase of WAAPP, which began in March 2008 with three countries namely; Ghana, Mali and Senegal, was expanded to cover ten other West African countries.

The World Bank sunk 15 million dollars into the programme in Ghana during the first phase, which ended in December 2012, and has earmarked 60 million US dollars for the implementation of the second phase in Ghana for the next five years.

WAAPP was initiated by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) with financial support from the World Bank, aimed at improving agricultural productivity by emphasizing sub-regional integration to promote shared growth and reduce poverty.

Mr. Alorigiya said remarkable progress was made in the past five years during which major projects were successfully implemented under WAAPP.

He said the extension into its second phase for Ghana Mali and Senegal was the result of the great achievements of the first phase of the programme.

Mr. Aloriyiga urged farmers to embrace the new technologies that would be disseminated to them under the programme, adding that, they should take ownership of the project and make it succeed,

Mr. Joseph Faalong, Upper West Regional Director of Agriculture, in a speech read on his behalf, said the workshops were being organized in the three Northern regions to highlight the remarkable achievements of the first phase of WAAPP, and make the project more visible nationally.

He said the new varieties of maize and cassava developed by WAAPP would be released to farmers soon.

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