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President John Dramani Mahama has announced the government’s decision to designate Ziope in the Volta Region as a special project area for the cultivation of vegetables for the local and foreign markets.

He said the special project area would be supervised by the Extension Services Division of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA).

Addressing a durbar of the chiefs and people of the Ziope Traditional Area to climax the fifth edition of their farming festival, known as Agbleza, last Saturday, President Mahama said there was a huge market for vegetables and, therefore, asked the people to take advantage of that to produce more to earn higher incomes.

The Ziope Traditional Area, with 58 communities and a population of more than 22,000, is a large farming community on the main Ho-Aflao road in the Agotime-Ziope District, about 45 minutes’ drive from Ho.

President Mahama said the government was committed to promoting food security and advised that agriculture should not be practised as a way of life but a business that would bring in higher incomes for families and the national economy.

He said tractors had been distributed to some farmers and groups at subsidised prices, payable in two years, as part of the government’s effort to consolidate its mission of turning agriculture into a business.

President Mahama said the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Agency (GYEEDA) had been reorganised and renamed the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) and would soon recruit interested persons into the youth-in-agriculture model to provide them with employment.

On the construction of community senior high schools, he said 123 projects were so far at various stages of completion and expressed the hope that the 200 earmarked for the whole programme would be fully accomplished by the end of next year.

The President congratulated the people of Ziope on instituting the festival and linking it to agriculture, the most important occupation of all ages.

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Agotime Ziope, Mrs Juliana Azumah Mensah, said farming was the heritage and source of livelihood of the people.

She touched on development projects in the area and said the rehabilitation of the Keyime Dam was almost complete, while bitumen surface coating for the Ziope–Akatsi road was also nearing completion.

In an address, the Paramount Chief of the Ziope Traditional Area, Togbui Binah Lawluvi VI, said the objective of this year’s festival was to raise funds for the construction of a two-bedroom bungalow for the medical officer in charge of the health centre .

Togbui Lawluvi, who is also the Volta Regional representative on the Council of State, commended the government and investors for the establishment of the tomato processing factory in Tema and appealed to the authorities to ensure that the factory bought fresh tomatoes locally to provide a ready market for tomato farmers in the area.

Source: Graphic

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