‘Convert mine fields into farm lands’
The Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Eric Kwakye Darfour, has charged stakeholders in agriculture in the region to come out with decisions that can influence policies to convert mine fields into agricultural lands.
He explained that, such a policy was necessary in the face of rapid expansion of Accra into the region, leading to aggressive grabbing of farm lands by estate developers.
Mr Darfour was speaking at the formal opening of the 2019 Eastern Regional Joint Sector Review Workshop of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture at Koforidua.
The workshop is being attended by District Directors of Agriculture in the Eastern Region, some Regional Directors of Agriculture, some officials of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture from Accra, agriculture input dealers, farmers, agro-processors and other stakeholders in the agriculture value chain.
He explained that the region was at the receiving end of mining in the face of legal and illegal mining in gold, diamonds, granite, limestone, sand and other minerals.
He expressed the hope that the outcome of the workshop would help promote the growth and development of agriculture in the region.
The Eastern Regional Director of Agriculture, Mr Henry Crenstil, said the region was consciously promoting inclusion of People With Disabilities (PWD) and women in agriculture through the annual plan and activities of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in the region.
He said the current agriculture extension policy did not focus on the farmer alone, but all the players in the food value chain.
Mr Crenstil said, under the Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD), the region was promoting the export of mangoes, palm oil, cashew, coffee and coconut, as a result, the region produces large quantities of seedlings of the various crops which are distributed to farmers.
He explained that each of the 33 districts in the region had chosen crops that they had comparative advantage for promotion.
Mr Alistar Djimatey of Blue Skies Company Limited, a fresh fruits processing company based in Nsawam in the Eastern Region, called for determined efforts to stop the infiltration of adulterated and fake agro-chemicals into the Ghanaian market.
He explained that, as a result of fake agro-chemicals on the market, many farmers were not meeting their targets and were losing their investments.