Mr Seth Terkper, Minister of Finance, said the objective of government under the food security and emergency preparedness programme is to reduce food and nutrition insecurity.
This would be done through modernised agriculture, management of national strategic stocks for emergencies and the establishment of effective early warning systems.
ï¿½To this end, 40 hectares of primary materials of cassava and five hectares of yam mini-set technology of newly released varieties were established out of a target of 160 hectares. Even though the area cultivated fell below the target, it led to a marginal increase in yield from 16.78mt/ha to 16.83mt/ha and 18.27mt/ha to 19.13mt/ha for yam and cassava respectively,ï¿½ he said.
The remaining 115 hectares of cassava and yam planting materials would be established in 2015 and expected to increase yield as well as enhance farm level productivity from 19.13mt/ha to 20.01mt/ha for cassava and 16.83mt/ha to 17.21mt/ha for yam.
Addressing Parliament on the 2015 budget statement in Accra, Mr Terkper said government in collaboration with the private sector increased the national food buffer stock centres from seven to 10 in 2014, which had reduced post-harvest losses.
The Ministry facilitated the establishment of two new warehouses with a capacity of 100,000mt each. The National Food Buffer Stock Company purchased and stored a total of 3,317.40mt of locally-milled rice which was supplied to the School Feeding Programme.
To improve access to mechanised agriculture services, Mr Terkper said, a total of 89 AMSECs which consist of tractors and implements, maize shellers and water pumps have been established in 62 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies.
This has enabled 267,500 small holder farmers access mechanised services on time which has resulted in the cultivation of about 107,000ha of maize, rice and soya beans this year. In 2015 additional 41 AMSECs is being targeted to be established bringing the total to 130.
He said the Ministry would also carry out training programmes to improve technical skills and competence of managers and machine operators to avert premature and frequent break down of these equipment.
The Ministry produced and exported 1.84 million and 700,000 doses of ND1-2 to Niger and the Gambia whereas a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with Niger to supply two million doses of the vaccine by the end of the year.
He explained that due to the increased demand for the ND1-2 vaccines in the sub-region, the Ministry plans to produce 32 million doses for both domestic and international markets in 2015.
Under Fisheries, Mr Terkper said 79 fishing vessels were fitted with Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) to enforce Fisheries Laws and Regulations on Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
He said since July this year, the VMS aided the arrest of 14 vessels that were prosecuted for their involvement in IUU fishing activities.
In addition, more than 1,000 illegal fishing nets and 300 generators and accessories were confiscated by the Fisheries Enforcement Unit.
The Finance Minister said the Ministry would continue to undertake monitoring activities to reduce the incidence of illegal fishing activities on our waters.
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