The implementation of various agricultural interventions and policies by the government has led to increase in demand for farmlands in the Nabdam District of the Upper East Region.
Mr John Hoenyegah, the District Director of Food and Agriculture who made the revelation noted that government’s flagship programmes particularly the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJs) initiative was impacting positively on livelihoods of people in the district.
Mr Hoenyegah said this at the 36th edition of farmers’ day celebration held at Pelungu, which witnessed 23 farmers receiving various prizes for contributing to food security in the district and the country at large.
The District Director noted that in 2020, about 4,713 farmers benefitted from the PFJs programme and the district received about 18,947 mini bags of NPK fertilizer, 2,160 mini bags of Urea and about 20 bags of improved seeds which were distributed to farmers.
“This has led to increase in demand for land for cultivation hence, some farmers going far to farm under the mercy elephants that occasionally destroyed the crops,” he added.
Under the Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJs), Mr Hoenyegah explained that the department distributed about 400 sheep, 53 rams and 347 ewes to 134 farmers including; 87 males and 47 females while 500 cockerels were also given to 47 farmers in the district.
The District Director said under the Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD), a total of 95 seedlings of cashew were nursed at Dasabligo and Yakote communities in 2020 alone and so far 47,245 seedlings were given out to 5,529 farmers across the district.
The District Director said other interventions such as the Ghana Productivity Safety Net Project (GPSNP) has led to the rehabilitation of small dugouts at Soliga and Kulsaboug communities.
Mr Hoenyegah explained however that although government interventions impacted on the livelihoods of rural poor the district still experienced food insecurity as a result of numerous challenges which needed a collective approach to address.
He said climate change had led to annual erratic rainfall patterns and would either caused flooding destroying several hectares of farmlands or drought leading to late planting and poor yields.
He, therefore, advised Ghanaians to eschew activities that were detrimental to the environment including bush burning, tree felling, improper use of agrochemicals and urged them to adopt improved and modern agriculture technologies to increase production.
Mrs Agnes Anamoo, the District Chief Executive (DCE) for the area noted agriculture was the backbone of the country and many people within the district engaged in farming for sustained livelihoods and therefore it was imperative for measures to be put in place to boost the sector.
It was against this backdrop, she said, that government apart from the PFJs, RFJs and among others, constructed a 1000 metric tons capacity warehouse at Nangodi, the district capital to prevent post-harvest losses and encourage farmers to scale up productivity.
She, therefore, encouraged farmers to continue to produce more food and the spread of the novel coronavirus threatened the food security situation of the country and encouraged Ghanaians to eat locally produced food.
At the ceremony, Mr Dogbila Ngoba from the Yakoti Community has adjudged the 2020 District’s Best Farmer and was awarded a Motor King Tricycle, two cutlasses, a Knapsack sprayer, a pair of wellington boot, a piece of GTP cloth, two bars of key soap, a bag of NPK fertilizer and a certificate.
While Mr Bahiru Pumi and Mr Yaw Kanzika from Zanlerigu and Sakoti communities respectively who were placed first and second runner-ups respectively, received a motorbike two cutlasses, a Knapsack sprayer, a pair of wellington boot, a piece of GTP cloth, two bars of key soap, a bag of NPK fertilizer and a certificate each.