The Sekyere Central District Assembly has distributed 300,000 cashew seedlings free of charge to farmers in the district as part of efforts to promote and support the Planting for Exports and Rural Development (PERD) programme to boost agribusinesses, incomes and livelihoods of farmers and their families.
Seven hundred and Ninety three (793) farmers, made up of 526 males and 267 females from communities such as Gyeduako, Achiase, Kyebi, Amoaman, Mpentuase and Ankamadoa, among others, are benefiting from the free seedlings.
Mr. Kwadwo Bediako Banahene, the District Chief Executive (DCE) speaking at a durbar held at Kwaman to distribute the seedlings said, the gesture showed the Assembly's commitment to the vision of the government to promote agriculture as a lucrative business in the country.
He said last year 150,000 cashew seedlings were distributed to farmers and the target was to distribute over one million cashew seedlings to about 2,000 farmers in the district next year.
The DCE said the Assembly's focus was to engage all the farmers, especially women and the youth in the area to take advantage of the PERD and Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programmes to increase crop production to boost food production and increase the incomes of farmers in the district to help reduce poverty.
''Our focus as an Assembly is to improve the local economy in the area, which would result in improvement in the internally generated funds for the Assembly through levies gained from the agribusinesses, to pursue the needed social and economic developmental projects in the area'', he told the farmers.
Mr. Banahene urged the farmers in the district to show keen interest in the intervention programmes to improve on their living conditions.
Mr. Edward Agyepong, the District Extension Officer urged the farmers to apply the right agronomic practices introduced to them such as proper spacing, constant weeding, watering of seedlings at early stage after planting on farm lands, among others, in order to attain the intended yield and returns.
Mr. Foster Amaning Kwarteng, the District PERD Liason Officer said the district had been demarcated into four zones made up of Kwaman, Nsuta, Asubuasu and Birem, to facilitate continuous monitoring and extension service delivery to the farmers.
Nana Adusi Poku, Saamanhene of the Kwaman Traditional Area commended the government and the Assembly for embarking on such a cause, which seeks to empower the farmers economically and take majority of the rural dwellers and local people out of poverty.