NSS farms to harvest 1,000 bags of rice for FSHS programme

About 1000 bags of rice are expected from the first harvest from the farms operated by the National Service Scheme (NSS) to shore up food supplies to schools under the Free Senior High School (FSHS) programme.

Through the Economic Enclave Project under the GhanaCARES “Obaatan Pa” initiative, over 560 bags of maize have already been harvested awaiting a handing over to the Ministry of Education for distribution among the schools in the country towards the school feeding programme.

These came to light when the Education Minister, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, visited the farms, located at Abotantri in the Sekyere Kumawu District in the Ashanti Region, to assess the progress of work.

The project is implemented in three key locations in the Greater Accra, Oti and Ashanti regions.

At the Sekyere Kumawu farms under the supervision of the NSS, over 20,000 acres of land have been cultivated with maize, soy­abean, and rice.

Dr Adutwum was accompanied by the Chief Executive of NSS, Osei Assibey-Antwi, and some of­ficials from the Education Ministry, among others.

The visit saw an ongoing major harvesting of the Agra perfumed rice variety, developed by the Crop Research Institute of the Coun­cil for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-CRI), which has a very high yield and is resistant to birds.

Dr Adut­wum believed the cost of the feeding programme could be reduced through the locally produced food commodities, emphasizing that affordability of the commodities would make the initiative more sustainable.

“This is because, the purchase will be made literally from the warehouse at an affordable cost. You’ll buy at a cheaper price but feed the children more. This will reduce the cost of preparing the meals and sustain the project,” he said.

The Minister mentioned gov­ernment’s determination to build schools in the farm/enclave for the community members to have hands-on experience in agricul­ture to sustain the school feeding programme.

“We are also supporting the setup of schools in the farms. That together would really create an opportunity for the sustainability of the school feeding projects,” he added.

The Minister said government was poised to ensure that agri­culture was very attractive to the youth and would not renege on its promises, adding “we are providing agricultural infrastructure and land development support to the entre­preneurial youth and the formal private sector”.

Mr Assibey-Antwi, on the estab­lishment of schools in the farm, mentioned that data collected from the communities showed children walked about 20 kilometres to at­tend schools and so it was a great idea.

He said pro­duce from the farms were ex­pected to support the school feeding programme and the FSHS.

“If government is supporting us to grow maize, then the end result is going to support government projects including the school feeding pro­gramme and FSHS. We’ve signed a MoU with the Poultry Farmers Association, and hopefully, we will serve the entire country,” he said.

So far, 50 personnel under the NSS from agricultural institutions across the country are in charge of activities on the farms with assured employment after service.


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