Ninety farmers in the New Juaben South Municipality in the Eastern Region have benefitted from 15,000 free oil palm seedlings under the government’s Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) programme.
The distribution of the seedlings, which is an initiative under the tree-crop module of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), is meant to alleviate poverty by increasing employment, enhancing the country's foreign exchange earnings and also facilitating development, especially at the community level.
The tree-crop module of the PERD has been crafted with a focus to develop selected tree-crops, including cashew, coffee, oil palm, coconut, mango and rubber, for export.
It is a programme of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development as the implementing agency.
At a short ceremony in Koforidua to present the seedlings to the beneficiary farmers, the Chief Executive of the New Juaben South Municipality, Mr Isaac Appaw-Gyasi, said the gesture formed part of the government's plan to provide additional income to farmers.
He said the government had recognised the contribution of agriculture, and would therefore, continue to undertake comprehensive policies and programmes to further develop the sector for the benefit of the country.
Mr Appaw-Gyasi indicated that a team had already been put in place to effectively monitor the beneficiary farmers on how they were using the seedlings.
He said his outfit would be visiting individual beneficiary farmers to see whether or not they were taking full advantage of the free seedlings programme to plant in their various farms.
Not for sale
The New Juaben South Municipal Agric Director, Mr Kofi Tweneboa, advised the farmers not to sell the seedlings, stressing that failure to plant them would rob both the farmer and the government of the potential benefits.
He urged women within the municipality to take advantage of farming, especially oil palm cultivation.
The beneficiary farmers expressed appreciation to the government for the opportunity.