Koforidua, Aug. 14, GNA-The Eastern Region is gradually developing into a major rice growing zone in the country.
Under the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), in 2018, 18.27 metric tons of rice seeds were planted in the region and in 2019 the figure increased to 121.91 metric tons of rice seeds. This was disclosed by Mr Henry Crenstil, the Eastern Regional Director of Agriculture at the 2020 Agriculture Sector Joint Review Meeting at Koforidua.
He said the PFJ helped increased the use of fertilizers in the region and also saw a lot of schools establishing school farms and gardens. Mr Crenstil said in 2017, only five schools in the region participated in the PFJ programme and cultivated sic hectares of farm.
He said in 2019, the number of schools that participated in the PFJ increased to 84 and they cultivated 99.5 hectares of farm. Mr Crenstil called for the need to focus on the whole agriculture value chain to ensure that agriculture policies did not end up at the production stages.
He called for the promotion of agricultural policies that could motivate entrepreneurs to invest in agriculture processing to help reduce post-harvest losses. Ms Comfort Asante, the New Juaben North Municipal Chief Executive said Eastern Region needed to take advantage of its comparative advantage in agriculture and promote new approaches to farming, including all kinds of linkages in the agricultural commodity value chain from production to consumption. She suggested the inclusion of entrepreneurs in all stages of the agriculture value chain to help promote agro-processing.
Mr Thomas Wobil a Technical Adviser said more young people would show interest in agriculture if schools stop using weeding as a punishment, more schools established school gardens and the youth see their parents engage in agricultural activities in the home.
He called for the need to develop the agricultural sector and promote irrigation in agriculture. Mr Anthony Botwe from the private sector called on mango farmers to do good pruning of their mango trees to allow air and sunshine into their mango trees. This practice he said could help reduce the many mango and fruit diseases confronting them.