The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has warned encroachers to stay off its farmlands or face prosecution.
As a measure to discourage the practice, the MoFA had erected ‘stop work’ signs on all its farmlands, particularly irrigated fields at Dawhenya and Weija, where individuals and estate developers constructed structures, including buildings, on large tracks of the land meant for farming.
The sector Minister, Alhaji Mohammed Muniru Limuna, announced these in Accra yesterday, when he responded to questions from journalists at the ministry’s turn of the Meet-the-Press series.
The Ghanaian Times last Wednesday, reported that about half of the 2,800 hectares of land acquired by government for the Dwahenya Irrigation Scheme had been encroached upon by individuals and estate developers.
The Minister said he had directed the Chief Director and other officers of the MoFA to compile a comprehensive database of the ministry’s lands, so that it could advance its case at court.
Alhaji Limuna said the MoFA would utilise the farmlands to increase food production, stressing that it planned to ensure sustainable agriculture and agri-business towards food security.
He said the sector’s annual contribution to Gross Domestic Product as of last year, was six per cent.
Alhaji Limuna said at least, 10 per cent of total government discretionary expenditure was committed to the agriculture sector, to enhance productivity, while employing public private partnership, to accelerate agricultural growth and development.
As part of its strategic implementation strategy to achieve its set targets, the minister said, the ministry had rolled out interventions in the sector.
Alhaji Limuna said it had also started implementing projects, including the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme [WAAPP], the Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project [GCAP], the Northern Rural Growth Project [NRGP], the Ghana Agriculture Sector Investment Project [GASIP], the Rice Sector Support Programme and the Out-grower Value Chain Fund.
He said the ministry was planning to meet the Bank of Ghana to allow some financial institutions to provide monetary support to farmers without collateral.
The ministry, Alhaji Muniru said, had collaborated with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to develop high yielding varieties of millet, maize, cassava and rice.
It had also rehabilitated five agriculture stations for seed multiplication and set up technology dissemination centres to train farmers and agriculture extension officers.
By Francis Asamoah Tuffour & Dennis Amegede