The Upper West Regional Minister, Hon Alhaji Sulemana Alhassan in his interaction with the media during a site inspection of a One Thousand-Metric-Tonne Capacity Warehouse on Monday, 21st January, 2019 at Bulenga in the Wa East district, revealed that with the right technical know-how provided to farmers in the region, there will be enough produce from farmers to feed the region and other parts of the country.
The Minister during the inspection of the project, described Wa East District as one of the major food baskets in the region and asked the consultant of the project to speed up with work in order to meet the deadline for completion of the project by March 2019. He indicated that even though there was enough produce, the major challenge confronting farmers in the region was how to preserve what has been produced to prevent post-harvest losses. He added that, the project when completed will serve as a storage facility in preserving food produced by farmers and would also motivate them to produce more since post-harvest losses would have been reduced considerably.
According to him the second year of the Planting for Food and Jobs Program received a significant increase in the number of beneficiaries. As such, there is food in abundance in the region. The provision of a warehouse in the region is therefore apt and timely. “We all know His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana’s vision of building Ghana beyond aid requires progress in all spheres of our lives as a people. If we all contribute our quota greatly within the next few years, Ghana would be a food basket for the whole of Africa and beyond and make us food self-sufficient”, he noted.
Hon. Sulemana described as very satisfactory, the recovery of debts owed the state by farmers under the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) program in the Region. He said, with an average of about sixty five percent (65%) of debt recovered from farmers, the region is well positioned to give more inputs since they are assured of repayment of credit facilities offered to farmers. He however cautioned all defaulting farmers in the various districts to settle their debts to ensure the continuance of the program.
He disclosed that government sanctioned an audit into the activities of the various Municipal and District Chief Executives along with their Directors of Agriculture to ensure that all the inputs were put to judicious use. He said the completed report would be made available to the public to ensure transparency and accountability on the part of government.
Similarly, the Upper West Regional Director of Agriculture, Mr Emmanuel Sasu Yeboah speaking to the media said, efforts were being made to ensure that farmers pay back the inputs supplied under the Planting for Food and Jobs Program. He encouraged all defaulting farmers to pay their debts for the program to continue.
On the region’s food security, Mr Sasu Emmanuel indicated that he was very confident that with the abundance of food in the region, the region in a few years to come, will start supplying the neighboring countries like Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast with food. He said Upper West Region used to be a region with food shortages but since the introduction of the Planting for Food and Jobs Program two years ago, the story had changed and there is no longer food shortages in upper West Region.
The One Thousand Metric Tonnes Warehouse project under construction at Bulenga in the Wa East District is expected to be completed in March, 2019. Another warehouse that the Hon. Regional Minister and his entourage visited was that of Antika Company Ltd where over one thousand bags of maize were stored. The company also employed over hundred women for processing the farm produce for storage in the warehouse.
Mr Antika took the Regional Minister round his company and commended him for the visit to have an insight of what is happening in his company. Additionally, Mr Antika who is a beneficiary of the Planting for Food and Jobs Program, commended government for the initiative and explained with joy how the program has boosted his company.