Gov’t will empower youth to enter agric— President

PRESIDENT John Dramani Mahama has re-affirmed government’s stance to recruit and equip young people to take up agriculture on a highly entrepreneurial level to improve incomes and the welfare of communities significantly.

He emphasised at a durbar at Ziope in the Agotime-Ziope District of the Volta Region on Saturday to round off the Agbleza (farming festival) that, the time had come for farming to be seen readily as business and not just an inheritance or a way of life.

The main purpose of this year’s celebration, under the theme, “Celebrating Farming Through Tradition”, was to raise funds to construct a two-bedroom self-contained apartment for the medical officer in-charge of the health facility in the town.

President Mahama said the government was poised to implement strategies to ensure food security, for which reason the Youth Employment Agency had been re-organised into a “legitimate body to perform its objectives in an appropriate way” and start the Youth in Agriculture Model to give the appropriate input and “mechanised support” to the youth to venture into lucrative foodstuff production.

He commended the people of Ziope Traditional Area for their extraordinary self-help spirit and commitment to upholding the peace, saying communities which helped themselves in that manner would surely attract other development projects from the government.

Having said that, the President directed the Ministry of Agriculture to  implement a special programme in the district to produce vegetables “in the right way” for supermarkets in Accra and other urban centres.

President Mahama touched on the acute water problem in the area and gave the assurance that excess water from the Adidome water plant in the Central Tongu District would be extended soon to the Adaklu District and then to Agotime-Ziope.

He cited the reconstruction of the Akatsi-Ziope road, the Kpetoe township roads which was 70 per cent complete and the new Ziope Senior High School project which was set to take off and said that, they bore testimony to the high premium the government placed on every community in the country.

President Mahama made a personal donation of GH¢10,000 to the fund to support the construction of the medical officer’s residence.

Earlier, Togbui Binah Lawluvi VI, Paramount Chief of Ziope Traditional Area, said Ziope was definitely an important food basket in the country, especially the southern sector.

However, the inability of the farmers to have access to subsidised fertilisers during the farming season, was frustrating their efforts, he complained.

Togbui Lawluvi, who is also a member of the Council of State,  highlighted the need for an efficient system for transporting the huge tomato harvests from Ziope to the processing factory in Tema in good time before they perish.

From Alberto Mario Noretti, Ziope

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