The Bongo District event of the 2017 National Farmers’ Day celebration has taken place at the Saabo community with a call on Ghanaians to actively embrace the Government’s “Planting for Food and Jobs” (PFJ) programme. This year’s event was the 33rd in the series.
Bongo District Chief Executive (DCE) Hon. Peter Ayinbisa Ayamga made the call in his address at the event. He noted that a successful implementation of the PFJ will position Ghana as a food-sufficient nation that can feed its ever-increasing population. This can also create jobs for the citizens since about 70 percent of the population depends directly on agriculture and its related activities for their livelihood. He said additionally, the PFJ was government’s strategic intervention to increase production of maize by 30 percent, rice by 49 percent, soya bean by 25% and sorghum by 28 percent.
According to him, Government intends to do so through the provision of inputs such as fertilizers and fast-yielding seeds as well as adequate provision of extension services to farmers especially in rural Ghana. He disclosed that his district received 9,390 bags of NPK fertilizer, 4,420 bags of Sulphate of Amonia and 1,385 bags of Urea which have since been distributed to some registered farmers through meticulous screening by the Department of Agriculture. Meanwhile, 290 sachets of tamato and pepper seeds were also delivered to farmers across the district.
Touching on the theme for this year’s farmers’ day – “Farming for Food and Jobs”, Hon. Ayamga noted that one agricultural related policy that held great prospects for the country was the “One District, One Factory” (1D1F) policy. He hinted that the district was putting together a team that will work closely with the Ministry of Trade and Industry to ensure that the programme becomes beneficial to citizens in the area. He said the eventual roll-out of the 1D1F will provide a ready market for the absorption of farm produce from the PFJ. He added that the Nana Addo-led government had also initiated plans to construct a-10,000-metric tons warehouse in each of the 216 districts in the country.
The DCE also used the occasion to announce that the District in conjunction with the Feeder Roads Department, had started procurement processes for the award of various forms of works to be done on selected roads in the district. These include the Bongo-Namoo road, Namoo-Zorkor, Yorigor-Gowrie-Vea, Balungu-Vea, Yorigor-Bogrigor, Adaboya-Apatanga and Kongo-Beo feeder roads. He said the full rehabilitation of these roads would improve travel time and also open up the road network for the transportation of farm produce to marketing centres in and outside the district.
He praised farmers for toiling so hard through the years to feed families in the area and the general public though they faced all manner of odds, such as the annual poor rain fall patterns and other forms of challenges peculiar to the Northern parts of the country. He also thanked farmer-centered NGOs like the RESULT Project and the USAID as well as the Bongo Rural Bank for their immense support to the district’s farmer population.
Hon. Ayamga concluded his address by commenting on the HIV-AIDS situation in the area and revealed that statistics at the health directorate showed an increasing trend of cases in the district. He disclosed for instance that in 2016, 75 persons were tested and 38 of them turned reactive or positive while as at 1st December, 2017, the health authorities tested 83 people and 50 of them were found to be positive. He therefore called for a strengthened sensitisation campaign by all stakeholders in order to nib the canker in the bud.
The 2017 Overall District Best Farmer award was bestowed on Naba Nsobila Akanobre, a 60-year farmer who is also the Chief of the Gowrie community. The awardee rears animals including 42 cattle, 26 sheep, 30 goats, 58 local fowls, 34 guinea fowls and eight donkeys. He also cultivated seven acres of millet, seven acres of maize, five acres of rice and eight acres of sorghum among others.In addition, he supports colleague farmers with seed, plough services and food stuff. He also pays NHIS for 10 people and sponsors the school fees of five needy children in his community.
For his prize, he received a brand new engine-powered tricycle, a radio set, some yards of wax print, a knapsack sprayer, wellington boots, two cutlasses and a pic sack. In all, 11 categories of awards were presented to various deserving farmers.
Meanwhile, the District Best Physically Challenged farmer went to Mr. Ayambire Adua Samuel, a native of Dua-Yikene. Among other items, he took home a knapsack sprayer, a gas cylinder cum burner, a radio set and wellington boots.
Bongo District Director of the Department of Agriculture, Mr. Edgar Dra earlier in a welcome address disclosed that the Department had only six Agric Extension Agents and seven supervisors. Regardless of this small number of staff, his outfit was able to make regular home and farm visits to about 27,578 farmers during the year. The visits were to advice farmers on good agricultural practices, monitor crop performance and undertake disease surveillance.
Mr. Dra further revealed that the district experienced a short drought in September 2017 which affected some crops while the Fall Army Worm also affected a total of 760 hectares of land. However, the Agric Department was able to recover 621 hectares of the affected land by the distribution of agro-chemicals to 949 farmers for controlling the worm.
Source: Peter Atogewe Wedam (ISD)