|Farmers Benefit From Credit-In-Kind Scheme|
The government of Ghana through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture [MOFA] has presented 600 sheep and goats to livestock farmers in the Talensi-Nabdam and Builsa districts of the Upper East region.
A Deputy Minister of MOFA in charge of livestock, Dr. Albert Tia Sugri who launched a scheme dubbed the credit-in-kind scheme at Paga in the Kassena-Nankana West district said the presentation formed part of a national package under the Ministry’s Livestock Development Project [LDP].
Dr. Tia who is also the Member of Parliament for the Nalerigu-Gambaga constituency said under the LDP, small scale farmers are being provided with small ruminants as credit-in-kind to help them increase livestock products such as meat for local consumption and at the same time, reduce meat imports into the country.
He disclosed that at the moment, 35 districts in seven regions are benefiting from the credit-in-kind scheme while the remaining three regions will be added with time. He noted that livestock production accounts for only six per cent of total agricultural Gross Domestic Product while domestic meat production is hovering around 30 % of the total national requirement.
The Deputy Minister said government is determined to modernise and expand agricultural investments in the country noting that the chunk of Ghanaians are employed in the agric sector.
According to him, government will within the next four months distribute 21,000 sheep and goats to 2,100 farmers as a first phase of the credit-in-kind scheme. The animals will be quarantined, vaccinated and treated against endo and ecto-parasites at the Paga and Hamile quarantine stations in the Upper East and Upper West regions respectively before distribution.
Each beneficiary district is to select 60 small ruminant farmers to receive the animals which should be repaid in two years using similar animals which will then be distributed again to another set of farmers.
Dr. Tia called for excellent collaboration between the beneficiaries and MOFA staff to ensure the survivability of the animals so as to sustain the scheme.
The Upper East Regional Director of MOFA, Alhaji Abdul-Razaque Ziblim Salifu entreated beneficiary farmers to provide adequate care for the animals including proper housing, feeding and periodic health checks to ensure that healthy and disease-free meat is produced for the Ghanaian market.
Alhaji Abdul-Razaque reminded the farmers not to sell out all the animals that will come after the initial stock since they will be paying back to the credit scheme in kind.
Earlier in a welcome address, the Kassena-Nankana West district co-ordinating director, Mr. Ibrahim Alhassan thanked government for introducing the credit-in-kind scheme noting that it will greatly assist the over three-quarters of farmers in the Upper East who depend on livestock during the dry season.
Mr. Alhassan cautioned the farmers against diverting the animals into other areas like using them to dowry women.
Source: ISD (Peter Atogewe Wedam, Bolgatanga)