Some 30,000 mango and oil palm seedlingshave been distributed to 313 crop farmers at Asesewa in the Upper ManyaKrobo District of the Eastern Region.
The seedlings, made up of 20,000 oil palm donated by the Minerals Commission and 10,000 mangos from Tree Crops Development Authority,were donated to the UpperManyaKrobo District Assemblyforonward distribution to the farmers, who were from various communities.
The donations fall under the Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) programme, one of the government’s flagship initiatives to help alleviate poverty and to create more employment.
The PERD is a decentralised National Tree Crop Programme to promote rural economic growth and improve household incomes of rural farmers through the provision of certified improved seedlings, extension services, business support and regulatory mechanisms.
It is being jointly implemented by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Decentralisation.
Presenting the seedlings to the farmers, the District Director of the Department of Agriculture, MrHilary Alagbo, said the gesture was to ensure that food crop farmers were in business all-year round in order to make additional income.
He encouraged the beneficiaries to plant and nurture the seedlings to mature in good time.
MrAlagbo advised the farmers to work closely with the Agriculture Extension Officers in their communities for all technical assistance such as pest and disease control measures and how to improve their yields.
The District Director said he was not happy about how some people took advantage of the free programme but did not plant the seedlings, which defeated purposes for which they were given out.
He said officials of the Department of Agriculture would be visiting the beneficiaries to monitor their activities and to ensure the right thing was done.
FROM DAVID KODJO, ASESEWA