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Government Urged To Support Farmers To Increase Production   
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Mr. George Osei-Asibe, Techiman Zonal Coordinator of Root and Tuber Improvement and Marketing Programme (RTIMP) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, has called for plans to support and encourage farmers to increase farm yields to ensure national food security.

He stressed the need for the promotion of irrigation projects to ensure the cultivation of food crops throughout the year to help improve the living standards of farmers.

Mr. Osei-Asibe was addressing more than 100 stakeholders of the RTIMP in Nkoranza South District at a day's forum at Nkoranza.

The forum, organised by the Ministry, discussed success stories chalked by RTIMP stakeholders and challenges they faced so officials of the Ministry could initiate strategies to address them.

Mr. Osei-Asibe said the RTIMP, initiated by the government in 1999 with funding from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) was aimed at offering financial support to farmers in root and tuber cultivation, such as cassava, yam, sweet potato and cocoyam.

He said credit facilities had been arranged for the farmers and others engaged in the processing and marketing of the crops, including other farmers, input dealers, bankers, processors, traders, equipment fabricators, transporters and the media.

Mr. Mac Lawrence Ahiadu, Nkoranza South District Director of Agricultural Services commended the stakeholders for embracing the programme to enhance their living standards.

He urged the yam farmers to produce more yam seeds for marketing, saying it was a very lucrative venture that they could engage in every yam growing season.

Mr. Ahiadu announced that yam cribs had been constructed for some selected farmers at Dandwa, Baabiani, Brahoho and Akumsa-Domase under the RTIMP to prevent their yams from being destroyed by pests.

Mr. Richard Okoe, Project Manager of Kwabre Rural Bank, commended IFAD for supporting the government to boost the production of root and tuber crops in the country.

He deplored the negative practice by some farmers who refused to pay back loans they took from banks, saying the attitude blackmailed other businessmen and women.

The project manager advised farmers to form groups and do serious transactions with the bank to build up a capital that would enable them to contract loans to expand their activities for improved livelihood.

Mr. Raymond Gbedoah, Nkoranza South District Coordinating Director, who presided at the forum, called on agricultural experts and scientists to devise appropriate measures for the processing of food crops to check post-harvest losses and also to promote food security.
Source: GNA

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