Mr Mark Woyongo, Upper East Regional Minister, on Friday said government‘s campaign promise of providing employment for the nation's youth was on course.
Mr Woyongo said government through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) initiated a total of about 4,6591 hectares for 6,243 farmers comprising 5,179 males and 2,593 females under the Block Farms Project.
He made this known when he gave an overview of the Region at the 'meet the press' forum in Bolgatanga, which was attended by heads of Departments (HODs), government Institutions and members of the public.
The Regional Minister said plans were also far advanced for government to revamp the ICOUR Mills to handle the expected increase in rice production in the Region during the current harvest season..
To make irrigational activities more efficient in the Region, he said government had provided funds for work on the rehabilitation of the Tono irrigation project, whilst 20 dams in various communities in the Region were rehabilitated to support dry season farming.
He said communities without dams were not left out as they had been issued with water pumps to enable them to access water from nearby rivers with support from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
He said the policy on fertilizer subsidy did not only help farmers increase production, but also provided employment for fertilizer distributors.
Answering questions on recent media reportage on chemical misapplication and poisoning of some people in the Region, the Minister said education was ongoing to ensure that such incidents did not occur again.
He said there was the need for regulation of chemical importation at the borders to ensure that the proliferation of deadly chemicals into the rural areas was halted to prevent innocent farmers from patronizing them.
The Minister expressed disappointment that heads of departments (HODs) who were implementers of government policies and programmes were not present at the function to provide responses to burning issues of that nature asking that HODs be queried for not attending the function.
Responding to questions on why traders refused to return to the rehabilitated Bolgatanga market upon incessant arrangements and warnings for them to do so, Mr Edward Ayagle, Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) said there were plans to take over all allocated stalls and sheds that remained locked from their owners. "Those stores would be reallocated to traders who are ready to use them stressing ", he added.
In his closing remarks, Mr John Tia Akologo, Minister of Information reminded the Regional Minister to penalize HODS for their absence at the function since as implementers of policies and programmes rolled out by government, their presence was at the function was vital.
He said the collaboration of all stakeholders mattered in bringing the positive changes expected in the Better Ghana Agenda to the doorsteps of the people.
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