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Northern Rural Growth Programme takes off   
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The Northern Rural Growth Programme (NRGP) has started field operations in the North, with the focus on seed growers associations to produce sorghum, soybeans and maize seeds through irrigation agriculture.

The venture, which spans the Northern, Upper East, Upper West and Brong Ahafo regions, is to facilitate the production of large quantities of seeds for the next farming season to ensure maximum production for the industries and boost food security.

Mr. Roy Ayariga, National Programme Co-ordinator, NRGP made this known at the weekend in Bolgatanga when he opened a day's consultative forum on the participation of Rural Community Banks in the programme.

He said the programme had also begun supporting high value vegetable production and would be providing dry season farmers with water pumps, fertilisers, seeds and assist them in land preparation.

Sheanut pickers mainly women, would be provided with protective working gears such as Willington boots, gloves and donkey carts to transport the nuts.

Mr. Ayariga explained that the programme was not going to hand over cash to the farmers but work closely with rural banks that would assist them with loans, equipment and other farming inputs.

"I will appeal to farmers, processors and. agro firms that the NRGP offers these opportunities from business. perspective," he said.

Mr. Ayariga said until the people saw agriculture as a business they would not move forward in the right direction.

Mr. Emmanuel Antwi, Rural Financial Specialist, said the NRGP had adopted the value chain approach to cover both marketing and production.

He said market for most of the crops would be found before farmers were supported to produce so that they could be sure of profit and the sustainability of their businesses.

The forum, which was meant to sensitise the participants on the role they would be playing in the programme, attracted managers and project officers from rural banks in the three regions.

The forum discussed topics like; the Roles and Responsibilities of Rural Banks, the Value Chain Approach, Administrating NRGP, Community Development Fund and Accessing Matching Grants by Participating Financial Institutions among others.

The NRGP is being funded by the Government of Ghana, International Fund for Agriculture Development and Africa Development Bank.
Source: GNA

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