Yeji (B/R), July 20, GNA – Lack of access to farm lands is impeding the implementation of government’s Planting for Food and Jobs (PfFJs) and the Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) programmes in the Pru East and West Districts of Bono East Region.
Information gathered from the District Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) revealed that many interested youth and farmers in the area have registered and expressed the desire to go into commercial plantation of cashew but land acquisition remains a key challenge in the districts.
This is basically due to chieftaincy disputes and land litigations which are common in the two districts.
Mr Nambe Jababu, the Pru East and Pru West District Director of MoFA, said there is a reserve of about 100 bags of rice out of the more than 1000 bags supplied to be distributed among farmers registered under the PfFJs in 2018 crop season.
This year, he said, the Directorate raised only 20,000 cashew seedlings to be distributed to 167 farmers to establish 500 acres of cashew farms.
Mr Jababu said the reduction happened because in the 2018 crop season there were excess in the 46,030 cashew seedlings distributed among the 246 farmers who established 1,150 acres of cashew plantations that created direct and indirect jobs to 310 people in the Districts.
He was speaking at a meeting of the Heads of Departments and key staff of the Pru East District Assembly at Yeji during a visit by Mr Augustine Collins Ntim, a Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development in-charge of Rural Economic Development and Agriculture.
Mr Jababu said 2,188 farmers were registered under the PfFJs in 2017, and the figure jumped to more than 3,000 in 2018, adding that the programme contributed to 50 per cent increase in food production in the 2017/2018 farming season.
He said the fall army worm disease caused extensive damage to hectares of maize farms that affected about 871 farmers.
Mr Ntim expressed dissatisfaction over the number of beneficiary farmers under the PfFJs and the PERD programme, and directed the two district assemblies to collaborate effectively with the MoFA Directorate and intensify public education for the programmes to enroll more farmers.
He also advised the Directorate to improve on data collection and documentation on the programmes, as that was the surest way to measure the impact of the programmes.
Mr Joshua Kwaku Abonkrah, the Pru East District Chief Executive, advised the people in the area against politicising the PERD and the PfFJs programmes.
He said partisan politics remains the bane of socio-economic development, and advised the people to embrace and partake in government social intervention programmes to improve their lot.