By Richard Attenkah & David Okyere Fianko
The Ashaiman Municipal Director of Food and Agriculture, Mr. Samuel Nukpor, has appealed to the government to make do its promise to reclaim all agricultural lands that have been encroached upon in the Ashaiman municipality.
He said this, when done, and the appropriate mechanisms put in place to curtail encroachment of farmland in the Municipality, would save the irrigation facility for future generations in the area.
Mr. Nukpor made the observations in his welcome address at this year’s Farmer’s Day celebration at the Kofi Nimo Park in the Ashaiman Municipality last Friday.
He said there were many challenges facing agriculture when it comes to farming in the municipality, which include lack of farmlands.
He explained that the few fertile lands in the area were being sold by influential people and estate developers, making it difficult for potential farmers to get access to farmlands to work on.
He however, suggested that the Assembly consider zoning the municipality to separate animal habitats from human dwellings, to ensure human safety.
On his part, Numo Adinortey Addison, Ashaiman Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), said the government was very much committed to using the national food security buffer stocks to intervene in the food market to ensure competitive pricing, saying the national buffer stock company was established for this purpose.
He said currently, the government had subsidised 60,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser at an average cost GH¢16 per bag, as part of efforts to increase productivity, under the fertiliser subsidy programme.
“Onion and rice farmers in Ashaiman have so far received GH¢28,956 and GH¢25, 871.50 respectively to support them to expand their farms to increase productivity,” he explained, adding, “with this, ASHMA is complementing the central government’s effort with an amount of GH¢3,700.”
As part of activities to engage the youth in farming, the ASHMA boss urged the youth to take advantage of the block farming concept, which is to provide credit at zero percent interest to support farmers to acquire farmlands for cultivation.
While congratulating all farmers and fishermen in the municipality, and urging them to produce more food to ensure that this year’s theme for the Farmer’s Day celebration; “Grow More Food” becomes a reality, Adinortey sympathised with those who lost their farm produce to the flood that hit the Municipality in early part of the year.
Eleven farmers were awarded with various items ranging from bicycles to wellington boots and certificates.
The Ashaiman Municipal Best Farmer award for 2010 went to a 51 year old mixed crop farmer; Mr. Dotse Anaglatey, of Roman Down, a suburb of Ashaiman.
He received a 21-inch brand new Sanyo television set, a set of furniture, five cutlasses, one pair wellington boots, one piece of wax print, 24 packets of Tuna flakes, two Touchdown Herbicides, two insecticides, a certificate and a citation.
Each of the other award winners took home two cutlasses, one pair of wellington boots, two bags of fertilizer, a knapsack sprayer, a bicycle, 12 packets of Tuna flakes, two touchdown herbicides, 10 insecticides and a certificate.