From Samuel Agbewode, Kpoglu .
The Ketu South Municipal Assembly is to make agriculture more attractive to the youth and the aged. This will eventually lead to the setting up of agro-processing factory in the Municipality, in line with the government’s One District, One Factory Policy.
The Municipality, as part of the implementation of Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) initiative, has already procured and freely distributed 3,000 coconut seedlings to 44 farmers, out of which 39 are males and five women in 14 communities in the Municipality.
The Municipal Chief Executive, Mr. Elliot Edem Agbenorwu, who made this known at the 34th National Farmers’ Day celebration at Kpoglu, noted that the Municipality has a comparative advantage to establish coconut oil extraction factory, because the area is fertile for the cultivation of coconut on commercial bases.
Mr. Agbenorwu disclosed that the Assembly was considering the establishment of coconut nursery as the supply base to support farmers, who would want to go into coconut cultivation. According to him, the nursery is expected to provide employment for the youth and appealed to chiefs in the Municipality and land owners to give land freely for the establishment of the nurseries in each zonal council in 2019.
The Ketu South MCE, excited by the overwhelming interest of the people in the government’s Planting for Food and Jobs policy, said the Municipal Assembly had recorded 3,289 farmers under the programme so far, with 823 of them being women.
The figure, he continued, was an achievement over the 2017 record, where 425 farmers, made up of 393 males and 32 females were registered.
The area also benefitted from 2,544 bags of 50kg NPK fertilizer, 1,294 bags of 50kg of Urea fertilizer all subsidised among others by government.
Mr. Agbenorwu, however, stressed the need for farmers in the municipality to adapt to the modern way of farming which the government is vigorously pursuing.
He was satisfied that the government had successfully partnered with the private sector in the promotion of agriculture.
According to him, private companies in the municipality such as Seven Sea Company Limited, DSTV, Delove Agro, Harvest Small Agrochemical and Miracle Growth donated various items as prizes that were presented to the farmers.
The Ketu South Municipal Director of Agriculture, Mr. William Ayitevi commended farmers in the area for their hard work and determination, which led to improved socio-economic lives of farmers.
Mr. Ayitevi observed that the One-District One-Factory policy of the government was crucial in bringing the needed development to the people, stressing that the achievement of the policy would largely depend on the farmers who must provide the raw materials that would help sustain the factories and create wealth for the people, particularly farmers.
The Ketu Municipal Director of Agriculture pointed out that government was laying a firm foundation for the smooth take off of the industrialisation of the country.
This, he noted, is the reason why farm inputs were being subsidised by the government to ensure that the farmers who would produce the raw materials to feed the factories would not encounter much difficulties in their work.
Mr. Ayitevi continued that farmers in the Ketu Municipality are benefiting from regular education programmes on modern methods of farming and the use of improved seedlings such as maize, pepper, rice and tomatoes.
He urged the farmers to put into practice the new agriculture practices introduced to them, in order to increase their yields and improve their income levels.
He said the continuous offering of free extension services to farmers was an indication of the seriousness that government attached to agriculture.
The Municipal Agriculture Director noted that as the number of agriculture extension officers were decreasing, the number of farmers continued to increase.
He, therefore, advised farmers to form groups so as to benefit from the services of agriculture extension officers. According to him, farmers who would not belong to any farmer based groups would find it difficult to benefit from agriculture extension services in the area.
The Ketu Municipal Officer in charge of the National Board for Small Scales Industries, Madam Donudenu Selase said her outfit had been educating farmers particularly women to add value to the various foods that they process for both local and international consumption.
This, according to her, has led to the processing of new form of gari – mixing ginger and soya- beans with cassava.
Madam Selase said for the past one year, the Asongor Concerned Women Association and Glitame Dunenyo Farmers Association have all learnt how to prepare gari with palm oil, soya-beans and ginger, by using a modern technology that has added to the nutritional value of gari in the municipality.
The best Ketu South Municipal Farmer for the year 2018 was a 42 year old female teacher at the Xedzranawo R.C Basic Schools at Denu, Madam Believe Kudzonu.
She received a tricycle, refrigerator, spraying machine and DSTV among others.
Madam Selase, who was grateful for the honour done her with other award winners appealed to the government workers to consider venturing into agriculture in addition to their work because it fulfilling.