A total of 17,063 smallholder farmers have subscribed to the Government’s Planting for Food and Jobs (PJFs) programme in the Upper West Region.
The figure fell short of the project target of 20,000 farmers for the region, but Mr Hudu Abu, the Upper West Regional Crops Officer of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), said the figure excluded some names that were submitted directly to Isoko.
“If you add those names to the 17,063, I’m sure we will be hitting the 20,000 target for the region,” he said.
Mr Abu, who was speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the progress of the programme in the region, said the region had received adequate seeds of sorghum, soya bean and rice but with a bit of deficit supply in maize.
He said as of July 14, 10,095 farmers had been served with inputs such as fertilizer and seeds, noting that for the fertilizer distribution; Nandom District received 1,300 bags, Lawra 1,146 bags, Lambussie 376 and Jirapa 616.
The rest are Nadowli-Kaleo 685 bags, Daffiama-Bussie-Issa 774, Sissala West 1,006, Sissala East 1,647, Wa Municipal 1,759, and Wa West 476 bags.
“All districts have received both NPK and Sulphate of Amonia and Urea in their required quantities”, he said.
Mr. Abu said the total number of hectares cultivated for each of the crops in the region stood at 43,215.3 hectares of maize, 1,437 hectares of soya bean, 1,819 hectares of sorghum and 1,018 hectares of rice.
On the menace of the army worm, Mr Abu said it was a threat to the “Planting for Food and Jobs” programme because it affected over 80 plant species which included the targeted crops for the programme.
He said it was in this direction that the Minister of Food and Agriculture directed the purchase of the insecticide to be distributed to farmers free of charge to control the worm.
Mr Abu said 11 districts in the region had been given 10 cartons of the insecticide to fight the spread of the worm.
He said the little challenge, however, was inadequate staff to do the spraying in all affected communities and that MoFA would train spraying gangs to assist communities where no MoFA staff was present to do the spraying.
Mr Emmanuel Sasu Yeaboah, the Upper West Regional Director of MoFA, said farmers must keep an eagle eye on the various seed farms in the region to prevent them from any attack from the army worm.
He said this was important because those seed farms would be supplying them with seeds for the next planting season.