Mr Elijah Adansi-Bonah, Obuasi Municipal Chief Executive has called on the youth in the area to show keen interest in the Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) programme and venture into it.
He said the PERD programme was one of the strategic initiatives of the government to boost rural economic growth to improve household incomes of rural farmers through the provision of certified improved seedlings, extension services, business support and regulatory mechanisms.
Mr Adansi-Bonah made the call at a ceremony at Obuasi to distribute about 1,000 coconut seedlings to 19 farmers to help increase coconut production in the Municipality.
It was also aimed at creating a sustainable raw materials base for local industries.
Mr Adansi-Bonah said it was important for all, especially the youth, to embrace the programme which had the potential to transform the socio-economic lives of people in rural communities.
The assembly has already distributed 40,000 oil palm and citrus seedlings to farmers in the Municipality as part of the PERD programme to provide adequate raw materials to feed a fruit processing factory which was under construction as part of the One district one factory initiative.
Mr Adansi-Bonah said the Assembly recognised the importance of the PERD programme and had committed resources into it to make sure farmers in Obuasi benefited from the program.
“We know the importance of this programme, so we made sure we resourced the Agric Department to get the coconut, grow and distribute the seedlings.
We also made sure farmer groups were formed and sensitized on the modalities covering the programme,” he noted.
The MCE said though Obuasi was widely known for gold production, it also had huge prospects in agriculture, and this had resulted in many farmers from the area winning national awards in agriculture.
He called on the youth who were interested in agriculture to contact the Municipal department of agriculture for assistance.
Mr Raphael Atta Peprah, Municipal Director of Food and Agriculture, said more farmers had been registered to receive the free coconut seedlings, which were funded by the Assembly at a cost of GH₵15,000.00.
He encouraged the beneficiaries to take good care of the seedlings and ensure that their respective plantations were well established in order that the good intentions behind the program were realised.
He advised the farmers to report any incidence of pests and diseases to the Department of Agriculture for immediate control.
Mr Mohammed Appiah, a beneficiary thanked the Assembly for the effort to assist farmers and advised his colleagues to take advantage of the program to improve their livelihoods.
By Adelaide Osei GNA