Friday, December 21, 2007

FOOD PRODUCTION TO GO DOWN IN NR (Page 44...Published Mon Dec 17, 2007)

Story: Vincent Adedze,Saboba

THE Northern Region is expected to experience a major shortfall in food production due mainly to the excessive drought and floods experienced in the area this year.
Although the Ministry of Food and Agriculture is yet to come out with exact figures on the region’s anticipated shortfall, it has been established that some parts of the region lost approximately 80 per cent of expected targets in food production.
The Regional Director of Food and Agriculture, Mr Sylvester Adongo, who stated this at Saboba, however, ruled out famine and entreated farmers not to consider this year’s weather hazard as an excuse to quit farming.
“These are natural causes over which we have little or no control but we have to make the best out of this current situation,” he said.
He indicated that his outfit was currently computing figures on the food situation and that it would complete the exercise after all crops had been harvested and the regional food balance sheet worked out.
Mr Adongo further suggested to the Meteorological Services Department and the Hydrological Services Department to help establish early warning forecasting systems to provide timely information for those living in low lying areas for the effective management of disasters.
The director made these remarks during this year’s Regional Farmers Day celebration. A 38-year-old farmer from Kpandai, Nakoja Batumbe, was adjudged the overall Best Farmer.
He took home a bicycle, six machetes, a radio set, a sewing machine, a pair of wellington boots, a grinding mill and pieces of wax print.
In all, 45 farmers, including 17 from the Saboba-Chereponi District, were honoured at the function. The award winners included five females and a visually impaired, Mr Sumani Abdulai.
“We have to diversify our agriculture to include intensive livestock production and fish culture to take advantage of the excess water in the system to undertake vegetable production during the dry season,” the director indicated.
According to him, the application of science and technology in an innovative way, large capital investments in production and management technology, large-scale farming, the use of high yielding hybrid crops and extensive use of fertilisers, pesticides and other relevant farm inputs were critical to ensuring sustainable growth in agriculture.
Mr Adongo mentioned over population, environmental degradation, poor access to markets, unfavourable land tenure systems, low agro-processing capacity and low private sector investment in agriculture as some of the challenges facing agriculture in the region and the nation as a whole.
The Regional Minister, Alhaji Mustapha Ali Idris, cautioned people against bush burning, since that practice had a negative impact on agricultural productivity.
“It should be realised that soil infertility, dwindling crop yields and floods are closely associated with indiscriminate bush burning,” the minister pointed out.
The Saboba-Chereponi District Chief Executive, Mr Azumah Sanda, stressed the need for the youth to be encouraged to take up farming as a profession to make the sector more viable in the country, particularly the rural communities.

Friday, December 14, 2007


Story: Vincent Adedze, Tamale

“Ei, so do the Gas, Ashantis and Ewes also live in Tamale? And even the whites, Germans, Japanese . . . I never knew people from all walks of life also live here. I think I must live here because the place is good.”
This remark was made by a friend of this reporter, Big Joe, who recently visited the metropolis to attend a workshop.
He, together with his other colleagues, visited places of interest in the metropolis like the new sports stadium, the Tamale Airport and the Volta River Authority (VRA) clubhouse. Fortunately for the visitors, they had the opportunity to attend a few programmes at the various nightclubs in the metropolis and concluded that indeed the city was a place to live in. They least expected they would find the kind of nightlife enjoyed here.
Tamale is indeed cosmopolitan and boasts people from all walks of life. It is noteworthy that just as other big cities like Accra and Kumasi have people from various ethnic backgrounds, who have virtually made those places their homes, so is Tamale.
The various tribes in the metropolis have their associations as well as local chiefs. They meet regularly to deliberate on sensitive matters to ensure the total well-being of their respective members.
Some of the migrants have resided in the metropolis for more than 30 years and have virtually decided to die there and even wish to be buried there.
Some were born and bred in Tamale and speak fluently the local language, Dagbani. If the saying “travel and see” is anything to go by, then visitors to the metropolis would certainly do away with the negative perceptions by people who have never travelled to the north.
In the near future it is possible many people will find it difficult to acquire plots of land to put up buildings either for commercial purposes or for private residence.
What makes the area unique is the fact that the crime rate is relatively low compared to other parts of the country and residents must be commended for that. Nobody fears being harmed by another, because day and night people can be found in the streets.
Admittedly, there are some bad lots but, overall, the metropolis is safer than other parts of the country.
Weekend relaxation by both workers and revellers at various spots, particularly at night or after a hard day’s work, is common here.
The expatriates, especially, enjoy riding their bicycles on the well laid- out bicycle lanes in the metropolis without fear of harassment from unscrupulous individuals.
Like many other areas of Ghana the indigenes cherish greetings and so any visitor who practises that virtue would certainly be hailed by the residents.
When one meets the elderly in our society courtesy demands that one greets them. That is the magic wand for our prospective visitors to Tamale between now and when Ghana 2008 Africa Cup of Nations tournament kicks off in the metropolis.
The proverbial Ghanaian hospitality is more pronounced in Tamale than elsewhere with such cosmopolitan characteristics and those who have lived in the area for decades have been enjoying such hospitality from the indigenes. Why not you also, our next prospective visitor?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Story: Vincent Adedze, Tamale

The Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Mustapha Ali Iddris, has stated that no amount of resource intervention and goodwill can lift the northern sector of the country out of its poverty and current predicament unless citizens of the area themselves strive to emerge from their psychological inertia and mindset.
“Citizens of northern Ghana must believe in their inherent ability to turn the fortunes of the area round themselves; It is good and proper to have well-wishers and friends who care and are prepared to help but the essential point is that the people are the most important factor in effecting any desired change,” he pointed out.
Alhaji Iddris said this in a speech read on his behalf at a roundtable conference on the development of northern Ghana in Tamale on Tuesday.
It was aimed at, among other objectives, evolving effective strategies to accelerate development in the three northern regions.
The conference was organised by the Tamale campus of the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS) in collaboration with the German Development Service (DED).
Representatives of civil society groups, non-governmental organisations and development partners in the northern region attended the conference.
The minister noted that the government “does not see the bridging of the gap between the north and the south as mere goodwill or a political game”.
According to him, the latest demonstration of the government’s commitment towards the development of the northern Ghana was the establishment of the Northern Development Fund in next year’s budget with the sum of ¢250 billion.
Alhaji Iddris further observed that the conference was a “good start at developing a harmonised approach to multi-donor programming”.
“About 60 per cent of our people do not have access to affordable health care and education, hence ignorance and illiteracy are high; these are but some of the issues I will want you to consider in your deliberations,” the minister pointed out.
The Director of the Tamale Campus of the ILGS, Dr Callistus Mahama, said social indicators pointed to the fact that “infant mortality, malnutrition and stunted growth among children under five years are generally higher in the three northern regions than in the south”.
According to the director, the dropout rate for boys and girls was as high as 74 and 83 per cent respectively in the early 1990s, adding that the quality of education in this area was “frighteningly low, further impinging on enrolment and retention”.
The Local Governance Support Programme Adviser of the DED, Mr Dirk Otten, noted that the conference was part of a number of initiatives that his outfit had taken to promote awareness of, and participation in development co-operation, particularly in promoting democracy through capacity building and building local democracy.
The Advocacy Programme Officer of Send Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, Mr John Nkaw, called for “cross sectoral collaboration to help tackle poverty issues in the north on a sustainable basis”.
The Regional Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Mr Issah Nassagri, noted that although institutional and legal frameworks were available, local governance was still a challenge in the region.


Story: Vincent Adedze, Tamale

A NEW Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential aspirant, Mr Papa Owusu-Ankomah, has stated that when given the nod, he would create a special economic zone for the northern sector using Tamale as the focal point to facilitate conducive business environment and create wealth for the area that is deprived.
He noted that the measure was part of his vision of enhancing “political and economic sectors through improved decentralisation process”.
Mr Owusu-Ankomah stated this in Tamale on Monday during an interaction with media practitioners as part of his two-day campaign tour of the Northern Region.
It also formed part of the last leg of his campaign to canvass for votes towards the NPP national delegates’ congress slated for December 22, 2007.
“Tamale needs to be a leading business centre in the Sahelian regions of West Africa; when given the chance, I will ensure that the area becomes a hub in business for the north,” the presidential hopeful pointed out.
According to him, it was important the necessary measures were put in place to ensure a growth rate of 12 per cent per annum, stressing that the north had a lot to offer if a conducive environment was created for business to boom.
“Currently Ghana ranks 87th in terms of countries with conducive business environment and opportunities. However, when I am elected as the president of this country I would improve upon our ranking to ensure that we move up the ladder to the 50th position during the first term of my office,” he further stated.
He expressed his determination to also help make the nation take “a quantum leap forward; but let us think out of the box and offer concrete solutions to the nation’s problems”.
“I will create toll-free phone lines to the presidency and the ministries to get feedback from the citizens; citizens service centres will be located in every district to enable people to express their views and increase citizen participation in governance,” he indicated.
The aspirant noted that the NPP needed to be transformed from a mere electoral machine to an organisation that offered services to its citizenry.
Mr Owusu-Ankomah stressed the need for delegates to elect a flag bearer who could help rejuvenate and inspire the rank and file of the party.
“I am an inter-generational flagbearer that would effectively combine the dynamism and agility of the younger generation and the experience and maturity of the older generation,” the presidential hopeful stated.
Responding to questions about his trump card, the former Minister of Education, Science and Sports, stated that before he resigned as a minister, he had initiated the Schools Under Trees Project that identified 5,000 schools as deprived and expressed the hope that within the next five years that programme would yield the needed benefits.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Story: Abdul Aziz & Vincent Adedze, Tamale

With preparations already underway for the funeral of the late Na Mahamadu Abdulai IV, disagreement has arisen between the Abdulai and Andani gates in the Dagbon chieftaincy affair over a document currently circulating in Yendi.
While the Regent of Dagbon, Kampakuya Naa Yakubu Abdulai, is questioning the authenticity of the document which is said to emanate from the Otumfuo Committee of Eminent Chiefs, the Abudu gate is quoting it to support its stand of performing the funeral at the Gbewaa Palace.
In a statement issued in Yendi over the weekend, Naa Abdulai said the document was capable of inciting people to create violence in the area.
Naa Abdulai’s statement was issued on the same day the Abudu gate issued another statement which entreated the government to call to order certain individuals the gate claimed were intent on fomenting trouble in the area during the performance of the late Na Mahamadu Abdulai IV’s funeral.
Sources said the funeral for Na Abdulai was scheduled to be performed sometime this month and was the reason for the Abudu statement that “we equally believe that we can perform the funeral without much government security presence; the Abudu and Andani families both need to have sober reflections and to allow for the spirit of compromise, justice and fair play to help us in our quest to restore and preserve Dagbon custom”.
Both sides of the debate base their stand on a document headed “Final Peace Agreement” and said to have been issued by the Eminent Chiefs made up of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II; the Yagbonwura, Doshie Bawa; and the Nayiri, Mahama Abdulai Naa Bohugu.
While the Abudus draw from it the mandate to organise the funeral of the late Naa Mahamadu Abdulai IV at the Gbewaa Palace, Regent Kampakuya, Naa Yakubu Abdulai, said reports reaching him indicated that there was some outward expression of disaffection among the people of Dagbon arising from the contents of the document.
He cited two portions of the document which he said convinced him that it could not have come from such respected Eminent Chiefs.
He explained that the Eminent Chiefs would not allow the situation in which a unitary Dagbon Kingdom would have two palaces (old and new) occupied by two regents (regent of Dagbon and regent of his father) at the same time.
He said the Eminent Chiefs knew that no custom, especially no Dagbon custom, would allow the occupation of two palaces by two different regents or chiefs of one kingdom at the same time under any condition.
He further said that no external body could direct the rightful chief of Dagbon on how to govern his kingdom as long as he was within Dagbon custom and national law.
Naa Abdulai said the Eminent Chiefs would not also advocate the selection and enskinment of a Ya Naa by persons who did not qualify by custom to do so and thereby create a cycle of litigation and eventual violence.
He said he was, therefore, fortified in his belief in the non-authenticity of the document because it was incompatible with the known mandate of the eminent chiefs.
The mandate of the Otumfuo Committee, he explained, was to establish how best all the necessary customary rites could be performed before an appropriate date for the burial of Ya Naa Yakubu Andani II was fixed by the traditional authorities in Dagbon.
He said the second mandate was to mediate for reconciliation between the Abudulai and Andani royal families and third to advise the government on the customary procedure to be pursued to achieve a lasting peace within Dagbon state in particular and Ghana as a whole.
Naa Abdulai, therefore, appealed to all citizens of Dagbon to take time and study any document which may come into their possession before allowing themselves to be excited or incited by its contents.
Stating the position of the Abudu gate at a press conference in Yendi, the Secretary to the Abudu family said it was important to state the position of the Abudu family regarding recent developments in the Dagbon chieftaincy issue.
Of critical concern to both parties was the performance of the final funeral rites of Na Mahamadu Abdulai at the Gbewaa Palace.
Mr Iddrisu observed that “the attitude of the Andani leadership and of recent his children, widows and even some members of the press regarding the performance of the funeral of Na Mahamadu, is not the best”.
“We entreat our Andani cousins to come join us bid farewell to the Dagbon King, for we shall always be there for them and for Dagbon,” he further said.
He cautioned against those individuals who hide behind the name of the Andani family to “issue empty and sometimes serious threats” to cause confusion in Dagbon, as well as scare officialdom to manipulate justice and fairness to their advantage.
“Let it be said here and now that the Committee of Eminent Chiefs’ duty is to sort out the confusion regarding Dagbon custom and to return it to normalcy,” the secretary stressed.
Mr Iddrisu expressed regret and surprise that “the very road map from which the Andani family has benefited is today found unacceptable and contrary to Dagbon custom”.
He noted that the funeral of Na Abdulai would be performed in the Gbewaa Palace, pending the “green light from the Committee of Eminent Chiefs as a customary and legal necessity, come the due date scheduled for it”.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Story: Vincent Adedze, Tamale

THE Legal Director of the National Insurance Commission (NIC), Mrs Emma Ocran, has cautioned vehicle owners and drivers in the Tamale metropolis against transacting business with fake insurance companies.
She stated that as of now there were only 24 registered companies nation-wide that had the license to operate, and advised motorists to report directly to the NIC office in Tamale when they suspected foul play during their transactions.
Mrs Ocran gave the warning during a public education forum organised by the NIC for commercial drivers, transport owners, and the public in Tamale.
It formed part of the NIC’s regional public education programme.
Participants were educated on motor insurance and its related issues, as well as complaints and compensation fund.
The director warned motorists that they risked losing any compensation due them if they transacted business with illegal insurance companies.
She told the participants that the “NIC is a supervisory body that has the mandate to issue licenses to insurance companies that meet certain criteria”.
“We do not want an insurance company to invest in projects and then when it comes to paying claims for their clients they run into problems”, Mrs Ocran said.
According to her, the NIC had an inspection department that monitored the activities of insurance companies, including their management practices and finances to ensure that the companies adhered to good corporate governance.
She stressed that her outfit had the mandate to revoke the licenses of companies that did not operate effectively.
Responding to questions from participants on why some companies allegedly delayed claims put in by clients, Mrs Ocran emphasised that “it is not in the interest of any company to keep dragging its feet in the payment of claims because they risk withdrawal of their licenses and other sanctions.’’
The Legal Officer of the NIC, Mr Oliver Bio, educated the participants on complaints and settlements bureau and the motor compensation fund.
According to him, the motor compensation fund was introduced in 1996 by the NIC in collaboration with all the licensed insurance companies to help set aside some funds for accident victims who could not access compensation claims for one reason or another.
The Northern Regional Insurance Officer, Mr Issahaque Yakubu, mentioned third party only, third party fire and theft and comprehensive insurance policies as the operational policies in the motor insurance policy.
He cautioned motorists against making any payments or repairing their vehicles in case of accidents without informing their respective insurance companies.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


Story: Vincent Adedze, Savelugu

TEACHERS at Pong-Tamale in the Savelugu-Nanton District in the Northern Region have called off their strike action.
The action was embarked upon a few weeks ago in solidarity with a colleague, who was allegedly assaulted by some irate youth at the Local Authority (L/A) Junior High School (JHS) in the area.
The District Assistant Director of Education in charge of Welfare, Mr Peter Adombire, told the Daily Graphic at Savelugu that the teachers took the decision because they were now convinced that the security situation in their respective schools had improved.
Five accused persons, with the exception of one who is currently at large, have been remanded in prison custody by the District Magistrate’s Court at Savelugu in connection with the assault. They are to re-appear on December 14, 2007.
The court, presided over by a District Magistrate Madam Vivian Lariba Yamusah, charged the accused persons with assault on a public officer and conspiracy.
The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charge. They are Mohammed Abukari, Osman Abdul-Aziz, Seidu Abdul-Mumin, Osman Abdul-Rashid and Gariba Abukari, who is on the run.
The accused persons were said to have allegedly attacked a teacher for disciplining a schoolboy who reportedly slapped the girls’ senior prefect in the presence of his teachers at the L/A JHS at Pong-Tamale.
They allegedly attacked the teacher at the school after which they pursued their victim to his house and again beat him up.
Police officers who were earlier on detailed to effect the arrest of the suspects were allegedly chased out of the town.
As a result of that, the police served the suspects with criminal summons that compelled them to appear before court for trial to begin on the case.

Friday, December 7, 2007


Story: Vincent Adedze, Tamale

THE Northern Regional Director of Food and Agriculture, Mr Sylvester Adongo, has entreated the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly (TAMA) to encourage residents to go into intensive rearing of animals in peri-urban communities instead of allowing the animals to roam the streets to worsen the sanitation problems in the metropolis.
He noted that the assembly could achieve that through the introduction of special incentive packages to make the rearing of such animals an attractive business venture.
Mr Adongo stated this in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Tamale. He was speaking on the food situation in the metropolis in the aftermath of the recent flood that affected the metropolis and other parts of the northern part of the country.
He stressed that the TAMA must spearhead activities to enhance food security in the metropolis, adding that the measure would also ensure that the city was kept clean during and after the Ghana 2008 tournament.
Mr Adongo wondered why “residents leave animals to roam the streets, and sometimes get knocked down by vehicles instead of treating the rearing of such animals as a business venture”.
According to the director there was the need to encourage farmers in the peri-urban communities to increase food production, including the rearing of animals through the provision of credit facilities.
He observed that prices of food grains on the market in the metropolis were on the increase because of the flood, panic buying and stockpiling of some farm produce by businessmen and women.
The director, however, denied reports of imminent food shortage in the metropolis, and rather called for concrete steps to regulate the purchase of food grains from the metropolis, particularly by people from the Sahelian regions as that could have an adverse effect on the food situation in the area.
“I am confident that we would have a positive food balance by the close of this year: The only thing is that on paper there could be food surplus but this might not be the real situation on the ground if food continues to be bought in large quantities by our neighbours”, he further stated.
In another development the Chief of Zagyuri, a peri-urban community in Tamale, Na Tia Napari, has made an urgent appeal to the TAMA to facilitate the provision of adequate potable water, electricity and toilet facilities to the community.
He noted that the provision of such basic social amenities was critical to reducing poverty and the spread of diseases among residents of the area.
The Tamale Metropolitan Chief Executive, Mr Mohammed Amin Adam, pledged on behalf of the assembly to help provide the necessary facilities to the community.
He further disclosed that the metropolis would soon benefit from a two-year Local and Regional Economic Development (LRED) project this year.
According to him, the project that was being sponsored by the German Development Co-operation (GTZ) was aimed, among other objectives, at supporting the creation of a vibrant business investment climate in the metropolis.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Story: Vincent Adedze, Sagnarigu

THE Japanese Grass-roots Grant for Human Security Project (JGGHSP) has provided $85,833 to support a shea butter project inaugurated in the Northern Region early this year to empower rural women in the industry.
The funds are to help improve on the activities of the women to store, produce and market high quality sheer butter all year round.
The project was facilitated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDO) with support from its partners like the Africa 2000 Network and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The facility, estimated at $245,927, is operational in Sagnarigu in the Tamale metropolis and Walewale in the West Mamprusi District over a two-year period (2007-2008).
Briefing media practitioners on the project in Tamale on Thursday, the Communications Officer of the UNDP, Mr Iddrisu Siddiq, noted that the project had so far made significant progress and expressed optimism that it would ultimately reduce poverty among the beneficiary women.
“The project has been able to raise the enthusiasm of the women producers through enhancing their entrepreneurial skills. The project has also heightened public awareness by generating news about the shea butter industry,” he said.
He further indicated that through the project, about 345 women had benefited directly from the production training manual, adding that a water reservoir, a residue pit and two urinals had been constructed in the two beneficiary communities.
He said such a measure would eventually contribute to “consistent production of quality shea butter”.
“The project looks forward to engaging partners who have technologies, finances and marketing opportunities for multiplying the impact which can contribute to empowering rural women and alleviating poverty by strengthening the local shea butter industry in northern Ghana.”
The Executive Director of Africa 2000 Network, Madam Adisa Lansah Yakubu, observed that the project identified the marketable quality of shea butter, as well as helped to explore new markets for shea butter sales promotion.
According to her the intervention was timely because of the deprived nature of the region and the high poverty levels among women in northern Ghana.
She, therefore, entreated the beneficiary women to take the project seriously to enable them to earn decent incomes to support their respective families.

Monday, December 3, 2007

RTU BEAT ZAYTUNA 2-1 (Back Page)

Story: Vincent Adedze, Tamale

AN impressive and hardworking Zaytuna F/C goalie, Lugard Tetteh, could not keep a clean sheet as he was made to pick two balls from his net by Peter Yakubu in the 14th minute and later by Alhassan Weah.
The Kaladan park was the venue where new entrants Zaytuna F/C made their first clash in the premiership division with Real Tamale United (RTU) in the 2007/2008 Onetouch premiership match.
RTU registered their experience and superiority throughout the match that enabled them to record their first goal of this season’s game in the 14th minute.
As RTU mounted pressure on the defence of Zaytuna, the latter gave in when RTU’s Alhassan Weah converted a corner kick taken by Peter Yakubu.
An intimidated Zaytuna side stepped up their game and in the 90th minute, their resilience paid off as they got a consolation goal through Emmanuel Amoako Agyemang.
• Berekum Arsenal were held to a goalless draw by debutantes Wa All Stars at the Golden City Park yesterday, reports Samuel Duodu.
Arsenal started as the promising side, exerting a lot of pressure on the visitors, but anytime they came close to scoring they failed to utilise the opportunities that came their way.
By the end of the first 45 minutes, Arsenal had not converted any of the numerous descent chances that they created, while the disappointing visitors sat back only to soak the pressure, and often played the game in their own half.
Former Arsenal coach, Emmanuel Quarshie, who is now the coach of Wa All Stars, was carried shoulder high by his players immediately after the final whistle, an indication of their gratitude to him for securing the team its first away point.