Lawra celebrates Kobine festival, holds farmers’ forum

Paramount Chief of Lawra traditional area, Naa Puowele Karbo III

Paramount Chief of Lawra traditional area, Naa Puowele Karbo III

Groundnut farmers in the Lawra Municipality of the Upper West Region are still counting their losses after several acres of groundnut farms were infested by the rosette disease in June this year.

The disease, which was caused by a prolonged drought that hit the district in June after the farmers had planted their nuts in anticipation of the rain for the farming season, prevented the nuts from sprouting and yielding fruits.

The Lawra Municipal Director of Agriculture, Simon Samson Yer, who made this known at this year’s farmers’ forum of the Kobine festival by the Lawra traditional area at Lawra, refuted rumours that the groundnuts failed because of a curse from the gods as believed by many.

The farmers’ forum was integrated into the festival in 2013 as an essential component of the Kobine, which is celebrated at the end of each farming season to welcome bumper harvest.

It brought together farmers, scientists, national and local award winning farmers, traditional rulers, and non-governmental organisations in agriculture, among others, to deliberate on challenges for the previous farming season, and define the way forward.

Mr Yer said although the municipality’s cash crop, groundnut, “has failed them, the farmers take solace in the fact that other crops like maize and rice yielded satisfactorily, and we are hopeful that very soon farmers will not overly depend on groundnuts as the government has introduced cash crop farming under the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.”

He said about 44,000 seedlings of cashew had been distributed to 389 farmers and two schools to begin cultivation mainly for export, “so there are better days ahead.”

The Paramount Chief of Lawra traditional area, Naa Puowele Karbo III, was particularly worried about the unstable nature of the climate which, according to him, lured “farmers into either planting too early or very late.”

He, therefore, called on Ghanaians to halt eco-unfriendly activities such as illegal logging, afforestation for firewood and charcoal as well as bush burning.

A non-governmental organisation, Centre for Knowledge and Organisational Development (CIKOD) North, partnered the Municipal Assembly to organise the forum to whip up interest in nutrition security of the farmers.

The Deputy Director for CIKOD North, Daniel Banuoku, lamented over the widespread of under nutrition, particularly among children in the municipality which, according to him, was hampering educational activities as well as national development.

‘For CIKOD, we believe the farmer should consume more of what they produce instead of putting everything out for sale, and this will demand that we sensitise the local farmers to see the need in prioritising their health above money.’

Mr Banuoku said CIKOD was currently advocating diversification of production and the transition from high external model to low farmer-centered models, which are within the reach of the indigenous farmer.

“Whilst we are commending the efforts of government at subsidising fertiliser for farmers under the Planting for Food and Jobs module, we also want it to consider aspects like subsiding local inputs such as organic fertilisers and local seeds that reflect the culture of the people,” he noted.


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