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General News of Sunday, 14 July 2013

Source: GNA

Stay off government lands; Mahama warns

President John Dramani Mahama on Saturday warned that government would not deal leniently with estate developers encroaching on government lands.

He said government is committed to ensuring food security, sufficiency, and to be a net exporter to neighbouring countries in the coming years, and would, therefore, not countenance any group or individuals that would derail the programme.

President Mahama issued the warning when he inspected the Dawhwenya integrated Rural Development project which is currently under rehabilitation.

The project, which is being executed by Ghana Irrigation Development Authority of the Ministry for Food and Agriculture, is being sponsored by the Korea International Cooperation Agency and would be completed within 13 months.

It is also expected to provide Irrigation Infrastructure and a training complex school at a cost of $3.6 million, which would cover a total of 450 hectares for rice and vegetable cultivation.

President Mahama said government would apply to the Korean government to support the project to commence work on the second phase, to create job opportunities for the numerous unemployed youth.

The president appealed to IDA to rope in medium scale and large scale farmers who would be able to pay more tariffs to make maximum use of the project.

Mr James Akatse, Director of Operations of IDA, said the general project would involve the rehabilitation of irrigation systems, replacement of electrical pumps, establishment of demonstration plots for rice and irrigation, and the provision of access roads.

He said the project would also include the main Accra-Ada road to the irrigation fields, installation of rice mills, rehabilitation of two fish ponds and the provision of classroom blocks.

The Director of Operations complained about the encroachment on the farmlands, inadequate machinery for land preparation and harvesting, lack of revolving fund for farmers and the saltation of the reservoir as some of the major challenges of the project.

Mr Enoch Teye Mensah, Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram said government would do everything possible to protect the lands which had been earmarked for irrigation over the years.

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