GOV’T LAUNCHES GH¢5M COTTON SUPPORT PROGRAMME IN N/R
Government has launched a GH¢5 million cedis Cotton Support Programme in the Northern Region, promising it would not shirk its responsibility of turning Ghana into the net exporter of farm produce to the rest of the world.
The Vice President of the Republic of Ghana who launched the project on Friday 26th June, 2010 in Tamale, said government had sourced funding to support farmers and enable them boost their farm yields in order to enhance the nation’s food security. Adding, “this initiative will boost Ghana’s image in the international community as a major exporter of food communities to support the United Nations World Food Programme”.
John Dramani Mahama therefore urged farmers to adopt modern or best farming practices that would make them shift from small to large scale or commercial farming.
“You should begin to cultivate large quantities of food not just to feed your families alone but also expert some for foreign exchange”, he maintained.
The Vice President stated categorically that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government was committed to reviving the defunct cotton industry in the three Northern Regions to improve the economic and living standards of poor farmers.
According to him, this would reduce the high increase in hunger and poverty that had engulfed most communities in Northern Ghana.
Mr. John Mahama, noted that the collapsed cotton ginneries in the three Northern Regions under the Cotton Support Programme, would be revamped to provide jobs to the youth, noting that government also believes such a measure could reduce the “Kayaaye” syndrome that has plague the North.
Under the project, government has projected 20,000 hectares of cultivated land for cotton production in 2010, with the supply of more farm machinery like tractors and combine harvesters to be imported to support the initiative.
Deputy Minister for Trades and Industry, Mahama Ayariga, disclosed that plans were far advanced by the sector ministry to assist Ghanaian cotton farmers meet their high expectations. “The Ministry of Trade and Industry has met all the stakeholders in the cotton industry and the necessary steps have been taken to improve cotton production in the country”, he stated.
The Northern Regional Minister, Moses Bukari Mabengba implored the management of the Ghana Cotton Company Limited and leadership of the farmer based organizations to map out strategies that would prompt government to give them more support.