The Kasena-Nankana West District Assembly and Department of Agriculture has commenced the distribution of 10,000 grafted cashew seedlings to farmers in the area.
The distribution of the improved variety with a shorter maturity period falls in line with government’s Planting for Exports and Rural Development (PERD) initiative, which is aimed at decentralizing the National Tress Crop Programme to promote rural economic growth and enhance the foreign exchange earning capacity of the Ghanaian economy.
Cashew is one of the six tree crops that will receive government’s attention under the PERD initiative which is largely being supervised by the local authorities and the District Assemblies.
Speaking at a brief forum to present the seedlings to the District Department of Agriculture for onward distribution to the over 1,000 registered farmers, the District Chief Executive of the area, Gerard Ataogye, said the Assembly adopted the cashew crop because of its potential in helping boost the local economy.
Mr. Ataogye said the government of President Akufo-Addo is committed to improving the Agriculture sector hence the birth of the Planting for Export and Rural Development program which is also a subsidiary of the Planting for Food and Jobs policy.
He stated that farmers would receive the seedlings free of charge and also enjoy free technical assistance from the Agric department to ensure greater crop yield.
The DCE, who is hopeful that the cashew crop will help transform the lives of the farmers for the better, urged them to take the project seriously for their own prosperity, that of the district and the Nation as a whole.
He assured the farmers of the continuous support of the Assembly and urged them to channel their efforts into ensuring that the initiative records a minimal death rate of the seedlings.
He said: “I am here today to hand over these seedlings to the Agric department to in turn distribute to the farmers. We have about 10,000 of the seedlings here for distribution to over 1,000 farmers in the district. The President’s commitment to the Agric sector is unflinching and that is why he continuous to demonstrate that by giving to farmers especially in the rural areas the needed support”.
This is an initiative that will put money into the pockets of farmers and improve their lives. I therefore want to plead with the farmers to please do whatever you can to make sure that these cashew seedlings survive. Put in efforts to ensure that we record low deaths of the seedlings and in the next few years, we will be smiling to a great yield that will improve our lives”. He assured.
In her remarks, Doris Nabare, the Kasena-Nankana West District Director of Agriculture, thanked the Assembly for the presentation, adding that her outfit will see to the supervision and monitoring of the seedlings so as to avert failure.
She noted that the department, through the Agric Extension Agents (AEA), will distribute the seedlings to farmers within their operational areas base on the number of seedlings each farmer initially requested.
She expressed optimism in the fortunes of the improved Cashew crop and urged the farmers to embrace it.
“Cashew is a crop that is now in demand in the whole country with good market for it. The demand is high right now but there are no cashew nuts in the market. So we hope to harvest from these seedlings in about 3 years time. We will be smiling by then”. She said.
Some of the farmers in an interview with our reporter commended the Assembly and government for providing them with the seedlings and technical assistance. They appealed to government, through the Assembly, to sustain the PERD initiative.
The Planting for Exports and Rural Development program was launched by President Akufo Addo on April 23rd, 2019.