The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said his government is committed to ensuring that farmers in Upper West Region are able to farm throughout the year.
He said policies like the One-Village-One-Dam (1V1D) and the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) were initiated to help farmers prosper.
“In my time, we are going to practice all year [round] farming in the Upper West, in the Upper East and all the Northern sector of our country. That is one of the legacies I want to leave behind for Ghana and we are on course to doing that,” he said.
Speaking at the Paari Gbielle Festival at Tumu in the Upper West Region, the President reassured the chiefs and people that government was getting budgetary allocations and the needed technical expertise to revamp the Tumu Cotton Ginnery.
He said his “information is that you need a little maintenance of the machinery to make sure they can produce at full capacity. Last year, the Vice President Mahamahu Bawumia came here [Paari Gbielle Festival] and indicated to you that we are putting together budgetary allocation and the required technical and human resource to kick start operation of the factories to restore it to its former days.”
The President encouraged cotton farmers to continue producing the cotton as soon the ginnery would be available to buy their produce. He also mentioned that 10 dam sites have been handed over to contractors under the One Village One Dam (1V1D) policy in the Sissala East Municipality with the aim of providing water for all-year-round farming to farmers.
President Akufo-Addo also mentioned that as part of government’s effort to boost the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector, 21 such institutions would be constructed across the country. He assured the chiefs and people of the Sissala East that one of the institutions to be constructed in the Upper West Region would be in the municipality.
The Paari Gbielle festival is celebrated by the people of the Sissala East Area. Some of the side attractions of the festival are magical displays with people licking red-hot metals from fire, firing of muskets and the eating of live animals.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the festival and this the first time it has hosted a sitting president. It attracted the chiefs and people from across the Upper West Region, Upper East and Northern Regions.
The festival was under the theme “Paari Gbielle Festival; a tool for the restoration or cultural heritage.”
The Chief of the Area and President of the Upper West Regional House of Chiefs, Kuoro Babini Kanton said the theme for the occasion was apt as it reminded the people to remain true to their heritage.
He expressed some disquiet that the youth “have lost touch with their culture.” He said “they do not have traditional names, they cannot sing or perform any traditional dance, they cannot prepare traditional dishes and cannot even speak the traditional language.” He called on the youth not to forsake their culture for foreign ones.
Touching on the Wa-Tumu-Bolga road, Kuoro Babini Kanton called on the president and his government to as a matter of urgency fix the road to ease movement of people, goods and services as well as ensure improved security.
He said “the Sissala area in 2016 parliamentary and presidential election gave you [the president] an overwhelming endorsement because they had absolute confidence that you will be the one to fix the Wa-Bolga road.”
“The only message my people will listen to in 2020 [general election] is when they can travel on a tarred road from Bolga to Wa,” he added.
The chief reminded the president that Sissala area is a major contributor to the nation’s food basket and there was an urgent need to fix the roads to improve economic activities the movement of people.