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General News of Sunday, 26 August 2018

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Planting for Food and Jobs programme saved me and my people - Nabdam Chief to Minister

The Chief of Sakote in the Nabdam District of the Upper East Region, Naaba Asigiri Bewong, says the introduction of the flagship Planting for Food and Jobs has saved him and his subjects from abject poverty and improved their livelihoods.

The Chief says the readily access to improved seeds and fertilizers at cheaper prices has indeed helped his people to increase their farm productivity and improved their socio-economic wellbeing. 

According to him, previous experiences about access to farming inputs almost discouraged him and his subjects from farming, a situation which he said almost plunged Sakote and its surrounding  communities into serious hardships.

However, with the introduction of the flagship Planting for Food and Jobs, the people could now heave a sigh of relief as there is easy access to inputs and farmers can now access at their doorsteps.

Naaba Asigiri Bewong, who gave the testimony when the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Hon. Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto and his entourage visited the community as part of a seven day tour to the three northern regions, commended the President, Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo Addo-led government for bringing relief to the community.

He said over 80% of his subjects were into farming, stressing that without support from the government many of the people would have continued to suffer in deprivation.

"Previously you will trek all the way to Bolgatanga searching for fertilizers to buy but you will never get some but last year a vehicle load of fertilizers were at our doorsteps and farmers had access to them with ease" Naaba Asigiri recounted.

He further lauded the decision by government to undertake mass production of cashew in the Sakote community under the Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) programme.

The Chief additionally heaped praises on government for the One Village, One Dam, adding that the intent by the government to ensure all year round farming for people in the northern part of this country was a laudable one and must be commended.

Naaba Asigiri Bewong said he was equally grateful about the decision to construct some of the dam in his community, stressing that the completion of the dam will further improve their activities since many of his subjects also engage in dry season farming.

He recounted how the community lost several of their cattle due to lack of water and prayed upon the government and the Minister to ensure speedy completion of the project.

On his part, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Hon. Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, expressed gratitude to the Chief and his elders for bearing testimonies about the laudable policies and programmes being implemented by the President Akufo Addo-led government to transform the economy of this country.

He said through the PFJ and the SPEED programmes, the President intends to end the vicious cycle of poverty amongst rural folks, particularly our dear farmers.

Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto emphasised that with the provision of improved seeds and fertilizers at cheaper prices, farmers are able to quadruple their yields per acre, compared to previous cases where they were using normal grains.

He pointed out that throughout his visits to some communities, farmers have been giving testimonies about how the introduction of the flagship Planting for Food and Jobs programme has greatly improved their farming activities and financial status.

The Minister pledged the commitment of government towards transforming the economy of this country through agriculture. 

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