The Upper East Regional Director of Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Mr. Francis Ennor, has urged farmers to step up cultivation of sorghum which has ready market to boost their incomes.
He also encouraged farmers to put in more effort in the cultivation of soya beans which was key in the poultry and livestock sector.
He made the call at a joint sector performance review meeting in Bolgatanga where participants discussed major interventions in the crop and livestock production sector and the way forward in boosting performance of the government flagship programme of Planting for food and jobs (PFJs) in the region and ways to scale performance.
The theme for the meeting “Consolidating the gains for Planting for food and jobs (PFJs) in the global pandemic” where stakeholders strategized on how to forge agricultural production ahead in the mist of challenges of the Covid 19 pandemic.
Francis said “COVID-19 posed a lot of threats and taught us a lot of lessons to be food secured and self –sustaining and therefore, in spite of the floods experienced last year ,if we had not cropped in 2020, with inception of COVID-19 there would have been dire consequences with food”.
He stressed in a presentation, the Regional Director noted that though maize production had over taken sorghum production in the region, he stressed that farmers needed to consider the ready market for sorghum and increase its production.
Mr Ennor said maize cultivated area in 2019 was 74.418 hectares with yields of 2.17 metric tons/ha., at a production level of 161.124 MT whilst in 2020, it was cropped on 80,960 hectares with yields of 2.08 metric tons at a production level of 168.340 MT, blaming the drop in yield of maize to floods experienced last year.
Meanwhile cultivated area for sorghum in Upper East in 2019 and 2020 was 57,322 hectares and 56,369 respectively with yields of 1.37 and 1.29 and production levels of 78,365 MT in 2019 and 72,539 MT in 2020.
According to the director, major interventions in the years under review included Improved access of farmers to mechanised services including ploughing, harrowing, threshing and carting and noted that 26,861 farmers were supported and out of the number 37 percent were females in 2020 as compared to 16,259 farmers of which 24 per cent were Attaches females in 2019.
Under the government’s programme PFJs, he indicated farmers were provided subsidized inputs that resulted in improved yields in production.
Mr. Francis Ennor also noted that 9,744 males and 3,318 females were supported with agrochemicals for control of FAW which helped to reduce the incidence and impact of pest of which 9,006 ha. of farmlands were affected in 2020 as compared to 19,268.8ha in 2019.
According to him, 59,680 farmers including, 35,780 males and 23,900 females benefitted from crop demonstrations and a total of 25,921 farmers with 17,091 males and 8,830 females benefitted from livestock technologies.