The Upper East Regional Director of Agriculture, Mr Francis Ennor, has assured farmers in the region that the Ministry of Food and Agriculture will not withdraw its interventions to them in this farming season as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Regional Director allayed the fears of the farmers at an award ceremony organised by the Ghana Agricultural Sector Investment Programme (GASIP) and his outfit in Bolgatanga on Monday to honour some farmers in the region for adopting Agriculture Conservation Practices.
In all, GASIP rewarded 329 farmers in the seven programme beneficiary regions with tricycle motors and personal protection gears for farm activities, including Wellington boots, nose masks, long sleeves and trousers, eye goggles and knapsack sprayers.
For the Upper East Region, 59 farmers drawn from the Kalbeo, Yebongo, Sumbrungu, Katanga, Yikine, and Yorogo communities were part of the awardees.
Mr Ennor told the farmers the region had started receiving its package of the farming subsidy under the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ).
He told the farmers that arrangements were being made by the Regional and District Directorates of Agriculture to ensure that the farmers got their share of the government’s fertiliser and seeds subsidies on time.
Mr Ennor said any lapses to support farmers to undertake farming activities this farming season would have the tendency of affecting food security in this period of COVID-19.
He indicated that plans were far advanced to deploy information technologies in the form of mobile applications and radio programmes on good farming practices to complement the work of agriculture extension agents to educate the farmers on good agriculture practices to ensure food security.
Mr Ennor impressed upon the farmers to adopt climate smart agriculture technologies such as the use of climate-resilient seeds, applying the right quantity of fertilizer at the right time, appropriate land preparation devoid of slash and burn, to enable them harvest good yields.
The Climate Change Adaptation Manager of GASIP, Dr.Edmund Akoto-Danso, who addressed the ceremony on behalf of the GASIP National Programme Coordinator, Mr Klutse Kudomor, said the ceremony, being organised separately in seven regions, marked the beginning of the 2020 farming season.
He said the five-year GASIP, which is being implemented by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture with support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), would this farming season provide support in the form of climate-resilient seeds and other inputs to 1,500 smallholder farmers in 12 districts to cultivate a maximum of two acres each, using various climate-smart agriculture technologies and techniques.
The Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of Bolgatanga, Mr Joseph Amiyure, said formerly farmers in the region used to plant early April, but now it often travels to June and entreated the farmers to take the issues of climate change very seriously.
FROM SAMUEL AKAPULE, BOLGATANGA