Monday, November 24, 2014

SADA Supports 2014 Farmers Day Celebration

Charles Abugri, Ag. CEO, SADA

Having suffered serious image battering early this year following a media expose suggesting huge investments made in afforestation and guinea fowl rearing projects failed abysmally, SADA has bounced back with support towards the organisation of this year’s Farmers Day Celebration in its operational area.

The Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) has donated 69 corn shellers to all regional and district directorates of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) to enable them put together handsome packages for deserving farmers who will be rewarded in this year’s Farmers Day Celebration scheduled to come off on December 5, 2014.

“Last year, SADA supported the regional Farmer’s Day Celebration with five tricycles– one per each region. This year, the support is being extended to all the SADA regions and districts through the donation of corn shellers” Adam Sule, Board Member of SADA said this when he handed over the items to the MoFA Directors in Tamale.  

In January this year, President Mahama instructed the former Board of SADA to in consultation with the Attorney-General, terminate a 47 million cedi guinea fowl and afforestation contract it entered into with the Asongtaba Cottage Industries. 

An amount of GH¢32 million out of the overall total was allocated for the afforestation project. A few years after the contract was signed and the amount disbursed, nothing concrete according to government was achieved. It emerged through media investigations that all the seedlings bought and planted had withered or been destroyed by wild fire. 

According to a statement issued and signed by the President’s Spokesperson Ben Dotse Malor, the presidency acknowledged the necessary systems had not been put in place before the contracts were signed.

The statement, thus requested the then "SADA Board to hold consultations with the Forestry Commission and the Ministry of Local Government to work out a strategy for the proper implementation of the afforestation and tree growing project, on a decentralized basis."

Mr. Sule noted that, SADA since 2012 has supported the cultivation of maize across all the districts in the programme’s operational area also known as the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone (NSEZ).

“In the first year, over 8,000 hectares were cultivated. Last year, over 18,000 hectares of maize were again cultivated. So far, over 25,000 farmers have been supported to grow maize, rice and soybeans. 

“This is in fulfillment of the objective of promoting an effective modernisation of agriculture through building the asset base of farm households for agricultural modernisation; and increasing agricultural productivity to world average levels, thus generating an internally competitive smallholder agricultural production sector”, Mr. Sule stressed.

He also observed that, the support of corn shellers will reduce the drudgery that farmers go through in trashing their maize. Adding, he said: “So far, SADA has supported the Tamale Implement Factory to produce 200 corn shellers and of which over 100 were supplied to our Technical Service Providers last year and over 270 tractors also supplied by SADA to farmers”.   

The National Farmers Day is commemorated each year on the first Friday of December to honour Ghana’s gallant farmers and fishers. The event acknowledges the vital position farmers and fishers occupy in the nations socio-economic development.

In particular, Ghana acknowledges farmers and fishers untiring efforts at feeding the country’s growing population, providing raw materials to industries, and contributing substantially to her foreign exchange earnings.

SADA, a government policy initiative established by an Act of Parliament (Act 805, 2010) is aimed at addressing the development gap that exists between Northern and Southern Ghana. SADA’s mandate is to accelerate the socio-economic development of the NSEZ through strategic investment in resource development. 

It envisions a “Forested North” by 2030, where agricultural production is modernised and oriented towards a larger market. It seeks to benefit citizens of the NSEZ which include the Upper West, Upper East and Northern Regions as well as parts of the Brong Ahafo and the Volta Regions.   

The SADA initiative has six unique pillars which include the development of a comprehensive regional and ecological strategy; a model for the modernisation of agriculture; development of strategic infrastructure; strong linkage between Northern Savannah and the Sahelian countries; a vigorous private sector initiative that strengthens existing private operators and active support for Civil Society Organizations and NGOs. 

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