All the 15 Municipalities and Districts in the Upper East Region will be enrolled unto the Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJs) initiative this year, 2021, Mr Francis Ennor, the Regional Director of Food and Agriculture has said.
He said 10 Municipalities and Districts were already benefitting from the programme, which was launched nearly two years ago and the remaining five MDAs would be roped on this year, 2021.
The Assemblies, which have benefitted so far are; Kassena-Nankana Municipal, Bongo, Bawku West, Nabdam, and Kassena-Nankana West Districts in 2019 and Bawku Municipal, Builsa South, Bolgatanga East, Pusiga and Tempane Districts in 2020.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga, the Regional Director disclosed that the remaining MDAs, which are Bolgatanga Municipal, Builsa North, Talensi, Binduri and Garu Districts would be added.
Mr Ennor noted that about 609 farmers including; 422 males and 187 females were given small ruminants and cockerels under the RFJs programme in 2019, while 363 farmers comprising 182 males and 181 females benefitted from the initiative in 2020.
He said each of the beneficiary Municipalities and districts received about 400 small ruminants particularly sheep and 2,000 cockerels and distributed to farmers after they were trained on how to keep the animals.
Touching on the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJs) programme, the Regional Director said about 1.5 million 25kilogramme bags of NPK fertilizer were distributed to 136,724 farmers comprising 106,195 males and 30,529 females.
The region further received 528,258 25kilogrammes bags of Urea, which 69,599 farmers including 47,056 males and 22,543 females benefitted, he added.
Mr Ennor further said the region also received improved seeds of various food crops and vegetables including; rice, maize, cabbage, onion, pepper, tomato, cucumber, carrot and lettuce.
He said the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in collaboration with major stakeholders worked hard to ensure that they blocked all leakages of fertilizer smuggling and noted that there was no single case of fertilizer smuggling in the region in the just-ended farming season.
"All the beneficiary farmers had enough fertilizer and improved seeds during the farming season unlike 2019, we did not receive any complaints of shortage of fertilizer across all the districts, some even bought more and that is what they are using for the dry season farming."
He said the region recorded cases of Fall Army Worm, but there were enough chemicals readily available which helped farmers to combat the pest at the early stage and its impact was significantly reduced.