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NRGP Encourages More Farmers To Grow Butter Nut Squash   
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The Northern Rural Growth Programme (NRGP) has exhibited various kinds of butter nut squash at a food bazaar in Tamale.

The event was aimed at encouraging more farmers to cultivate the crop and improve their economic livelihoods through its export to European markets.

Mr. Roy Ayariga, National Coordinator of the NRGP, explained that the butter nut was one of the major crops that could reduce poverty, enhance growth through agricultural value chain; noting that the produce was in high demand and urged local farmers to invest in its cultivation and consumption in their communities.

The food bazaar which was on the theme “promoting more profitable commodity value chains for improved livelihoods” attracted several people including members of IFAD’s evaluating committee from Rome, Italy.

Various dishes of the nut were prepared by selected hotels, local restaurant and agro industry players including its recipes and drinks from the butter nut squash fruit, all aimed at encouraging domestic patronage of butter nut squash.

The NRGP through the support of the International Fund for Agricultural (IFAD) and the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), is implementing various agricultural projects to promote agricultural activities in the Northern parts of the country thus to reduce poverty through agricultural production.

Mr. Ayariga said the program gave support for the production of butter nut as a dry season alternative for farmers so that they can export the produce due to its high demand in European and other markets. He indicated that there has been a successful production and export of the crop this year and had yielded positive gains.

Mr. Shobhan Kumar Pattananyal, Chairman of the IFAD Evaluation Committee who are in a tour to some projects sites in the country, expressed delight that Ghana has a lot of agricultural commodities that were rich in nutrients and if harnessed, could earn the country foreign exchange.

He also expressed happiness that the country was making good efforts to reduce poverty, malnutrition through sustainable agriculture and urged farmers to invest more time, energy and capital on their farms.

Mr. Pattananyal said countries in Africa could only move out of the quagmire of poverty if serious attention was paid to attaining food sufficiency saying that, through IFAD’s support and the commitment of implementing partners and beneficiary communities, they hope that a world free of food and nutritional insecurities will be achieved.

Ms Amina Al-hassan Bin Salih, NRGP’s Gender specialist, said women being interested in the nutritional levels of the household are being encouraged under the programme to adapt to new recipes made from various agricultural commodities such as butter nuts, soya, sorghum and rice.
Source: GNA

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