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.