The Jirapa Municipal Assembly is undertaking cashew cultivation over the past years as part of efforts to fulfil the government’s Planting for Export and Rural Development Programme (PERD).
The assembly has given cashew seedlings to farmers free of charge to enhance their income levels and create a sustainable raw material base for the industry.
Mr Nicholas N. Soyiri, the Jirapa Municipal Chief Executive, made this known during the certification of trained grafters and nursery practitioners under the Ghana Agricultural Sector Investment Programme (GASIP) Agroforestry project.
He said, hitherto, the Assembly used to rely on outside sources for cashew and other seedlings for planting but with the intervention of the Ghana Productive Safety Net Programme, it was able to support the planting of cashew seedlings for two plantations at Balantaa and NindawWala for the past two years.
The MCE announced that 40 smallholder farmers, including persons with disabilities and women, who made a greater percentage of beneficiaries in the municipality, had been trained on nursery establishment and grafting seedlings over eight months under the GASIP Agroforestry project.
Mr Soyiri said the Assembly, in its bid to mitigate climate change impact, purchased 15,000 cashew seedlings produced by the farmers during this year’s national Green Ghana Day and distributed them to farmers and institutions within the municipality.
He said the Assembly’s action was to motivate beneficiaries and applauded GASIP for the many interventions in the municipality.
GASIP had established an automatic weather station at Tampoe, provided 12 acres of fence conservation agriculture demonstration site at six communities, two solar-powered mechanised boreholes, 40 jab planters and slashers and knapsacks to farmers in the municipality.
Mr Soyiri urged beneficiaries to invest the funds that they would accrue from the sale of seedlings.
Mr Emmanuel SasuYeboah, the Upper West Regional Director of Food and Agriculture, said climate change had resulted in floods and droughts, contributing to food insecurity in the region.
He appealed to farmers in the region to avoid wanton destruction of the environment and pollution of water bodies through illegal mining activities, saying the impact would be disastrous to people’s livelihoods.
Mr Joseph Kambunaba, the Jirapa Municipal Director of Agriculture, said the GASIP Agroforestry intervention aimed to reduce poverty levels of rural farmers and enhance the profitability, adaptation and improvement of the local climate.
He said about 120 smallholder farmers from six communities were trained in technologies such as zero or minimum tillage, use of hybrid maize variety, timely and appropriate application methods of fertilisers, establishment of live fences, weed management, cover crop relay planting and timely harvesting and storage.
The Jirapa Municipal Director of Agriculture said 25,000 seedlings were raised by the two beneficiary groups from Sobayiri and Konzokala, adding that the number of beneficiaries trained in nursery establishment and grafting stood at 40.
The two groups sold 15,000 seedlings to the municipal assembly, which it distributed to farmers across the municipality.
Mr Salia Stephen Dafa, an assembly member of the Konzokala Electoral Area, who is also a beneficiary, commended GASIP for the many benefits it had brought to farmers in the area through its training technologies.
He gave the assurance that the farmers in the area would put the knowledge and equipment provided to them to good use.
Six trained grafters and nursery practitioners from Sobayiri, Sawale and Kontogleyiri in the Jirapa Municipality were presented with certificates.