Business News of Wednesday, 31 August 2016
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) has started rehabilitation works on the Keyime dam in the Ziope traditional area with the view to restoring intensive agricultural production in the Ziope enclave in the Volta Region.
The project was awarded on contract in December 2014 and work started in January 2015. When completed, it will be handed over to the community for the cultivation of vegetables to create more jobs for the people, especially the youth.
It will be recalled that last year, President John Dramani Mahama announced the government’s intention to make Ziope a special project area for the cultivation of vegetables for the local and foreign markets for the “Agbleza’’ (farming festival) of the people.The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Alhaji Mohammed Muniru, repeated the government’s initiative when he addressed a durbar of the chiefs and people to commemorate the 2016 edition of the festival last weekend.
He said the government recognised the suitability of the climate of the Ziope traditional area for agriculture generally and a multiple season for the production of vegetables, hence the zeal to reconstruct the dam to serve as a sustainable livelihood for the people.
Ten top illustrious sons of the area, namely Mr Stephen Agbeve, Mr Moses Nutor, Mr Anthony Nutekpor, Mr Seth Negble, Ms Akos Amuzu, Mr Michael Azibodzi, Mr Paul Agbedor,Mr Miheso Vadze, Mr John Dovi Kovor, as well as Mr Daniel Agbanyo, were honoured.
Glut of tomatoes
Alhaji Muniru observed the current glut of tomato in the southern sector of the Volta Region and advised farmers to identify the gaps within the tomato value chain and find technologies to address the gaps.
He said they should be able to access the Ghana Agriculture Investment Programme (GASIP) by applying to the programme coordinator for the necessary support in line with stated eligibility criteria.
He said the ministry had introduced the “Ghana Green Label Scheme” aimed at promoting safe food production, post –harvest handling and distribution, and using good environmentally sustainable agricultural practices. He added that farmers, transporters and traders were expected to implement such practices.
Mr Muniru said while the Ghana Green Label targeted the domestic market, it was expected to serve as an entry point for local farmers to access the international market and that it would go a long way to boost good agricultural practices and to offer the assurances of the safety of vegetables and other food crops to the consuming public.
He said the green label initiative was one of the appropriate regulatory regimes to curtail malpractices such as the use of unlicensed agrochemicals and irrigation with waste water that had caused a temporary freeze on the export of some vegetables to the European Union (EU) market.
Projects from the festival
In an address, the Paramount Chief of Ziope traditional area, Togbui Binah Lawluvi VI, said the people had been able to put up a fully equipped laboratory for the health centre and also established a community senior high school as an outcome of the festival.
He appealed to the government to expedite action for the extension of potable water from the Adidome water project which was earmarked for five districts, including Agotime-Ziope District, to the traditional area, since the lack of potable water was critical.
Togbui Lawluvi, who is the Volta Regional representative on the Council of State, commended the people of Agotime, Avenor and Ave traditional areas with whom it shared boundaries for consistently showing solidarity in celebrating the festival and said it was an act of good neighbourliness that fostered unity among the people.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for the Agotime Ziope constituency, Mrs Juliana Azumah-Mensah, cautioned that the election should not be used to stoke unnecessary quarrels among any interest groups.
She said the festival must be driven by a sense of unity of purpose and boost farming as a heritage.
The Deputy Volta Regional Minister, Mr Francis Ganyaglo, said the Ho-Aflao road was being reconstructed in addition to district hospitals at Kpassa, Dambai and Weta, adding that extension of water from the Adidome water plant would be done under phase three when £7m was secured.
For his part, the Agotime-Ziope District Chief Executive, Mr Michal Korbla Adzaho, announced a catalogue of development projects undertaken by the district assembly, including school buildings, CHPS compounds, police headquarters, magistrate courts, boreholes and bungalows.
He said seven land disputes had been settled amicably with all the protagonists living peacefully together.