Stakeholders at a Northern Development Forum have appealed to government to separate the Sheanuts from the Cocobod and establish a Sheanut Board or Authority to encourage more research work to be carried out on the development of the shea tree.
They said such a move would help generate attention from the international and donor communities, as well as some research organisations to partner the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute to carry out more research works on the shea tree to reduce its maturity period.
The participants noted that the establishment of Shea Board or Authority would pave way for many farmers to go into the establishment of shea plantations to produce higher yields of the crop for export and also improve livelihoods.
The stakeholders urged government to resource the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute adequately with equipment and other research materials to enable it research into animals and crops, so as to produce new species and crop varieties, especially drought tolerant, high yielding and early maturing seeds for farmers in the Region.
The members called for expansion of solar power generation to boost cottage industry and agriculture development in the area.
They expressed disappointment at the rate at which illegal logging had taken place in the area and asked government to embark on vigorous education and sensitisation efforts to educate the local people against the wanton destruction of the environment.
The Northern Development Forum with financial support from STAR Ghana Foundation organised the forum for key development stakeholders, including traditional rulers, Non-governmental organisations, Youth groups, Women groups and Political Parties representatives to collate views from a cross section of the people for a paper to be submitted to political parties on issues that concern northerners to input in their manifestoes.
The stakeholders? looked at issues on "Climate Change and Agriculture", "Education and Health", "Infrastructure and Private Sector Development" and "Peace and Security and Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts", taking into consideration the interest of the northern and challenges impeding development.
On peace building, the participants identified political and religious interferences, which they said posed challenges to traditional rulers to resolve issues amicably in the communities and urged government to empower them with skills to overcome such tasks and ensure lasting peace for development.
The members also encouraged traditional rulers to use festivals and ethnic jokes to help foster mutual understanding, cohesion and unity among the various ethnic groupings to promote peace in the communities.
Talking about terrorists and armed robbery activities, the stakeholders tasked government to consider establishing military camps in the border areas to assist in the protection of the country from terrorists' activities while the formation of Community Police Committees was also pursued vigorously to help reduce criminal activities in the communities.
The stakeholders appealed to government to make the Bamboi-Wa- Hamile Road a dual carriage while it asphalted the Wa-Tumu-Bolgatanga Road and the Wa-Bulenga-Yala Road to link the region to Upper East, North East and Northern Regions to promote the movement of people, goods and services.
The participants called on government to fix the Eastern Corridor Road to facilitate business transaction between the north and the south while it provided pavement on all roads in the cities and towns for the safety of the disabled.
Also on education, the participants pleaded with government to establish specialized universities across all the six newly created regions and put in measures to provide decent classrooms and teachers accommodation for schools which were organising classes under trees? to enhance teaching and learning.
They said the situation at present was worrying, as many children are unable to attend classroom during the raining season and some teachers who were staying outside the communities where their schools are located, had to commute on daily basis to their schools thereby losing contact hours to teach.
The participants implored government to consider upgrading the Nandom Hospital to a Teaching Hospital to complement the services of Regional Hospital in Wa to provide quality health care services to the people.
The stakeholders expressed disappointment that medical doctors and critical medical personnel had been refusing to accept transfer to man hospitals and health facilities in the Region and urged government to ensure the equitable distribution of medical personnel throughout the regions.