4 December 2012

Ghana: Gov Will Extend LESDEP to All Districts - Mahama

President John Dramani Mahama on Saturday announced that the Local Skills Development programme (LESDEP) which started on pilot basis in some parts of the country would be extended to all the districts in the coming year.

Subsequently, District Coordinators of the programme would be recruited to select the youth for various training programmes under consideration. President Mahama announced this when he addressed a rally at Ngleshie Amanfro, in the Ngleshie Amanfro Bortianor Constituency in the Greater Accra Region, as part of his three-day campaign tour of the Region.

After touring the length and breadth of the country to seek their mandate in the past months, the Greater Accra Region is one of the last few areas that the President would be campaigning, apart from some mop up exercises in some selected regions.

President Mahama said apart from expanding the LESDEP programme to all the districts of the country, the training modules would also be expanded to cover a number of skills that would be requested by the trainees.

He urged all the unemployed youth to take advantage of the programme to acquire training that would provide them with skills to make meaningful livelihood in the coming years.

The President said the programme would not discriminate against ethnic groups, religious and political backgrounds, but would be on demand from the youth themselves.

On the general election, President Mahama advised all Ghanaians to stay away from tendencies and utterances that could undermine the peace and unity the country had enjoyed over the years.

He said: "Ghana has been touted as an oasis of peace and an icon in democratic dispensation, and we as Ghanaians should not do anything that will tarnish our hard won reputation over the years".

President Mahama said the country had organized five successful and peaceful elections and this year's elections would not depart from that trend.

Meanwhile the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) has injected GH¢2,771,000 into dry season farming in the three northern regions for the cultivation of vegetables with focus on butternut.

The investment, which had assisted 150 nucleus and 225 out-grower farmers as well as 500 porters, popularly called 'Kayaye', with a monthly salary of GH¢300, aimed at promoting dry season farming and all year round agricultural activities in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions to facilitate economic growth.

The butternut crop which had already been planted on some of the fields is expected to be ready between February and March next year, out of which 70 per cent would be exported to European markets, while 30 per cent would be consumed locally to increase the nutritional content of Ghanaians.

Alhaji Gilbert Seidu Iddi, Chief Executive Officer of SADA made this known to journalists on Friday when he took them round irrigation farms at Yapei and Buipe to acquaint them about the progress of work.

He said SADA is collaborating with the Northern Rural Growth Programme (NRGP), Ghana Irrigation Development Authority, Plus One Investment Limited, which a service provider and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to implement the dry season farming project.

The CEO said MWW, an European vegetables investor had already placed orders for SADA to deliver 100-foota container of butternut during the winter which coincidentally falls between February and April by which time the crop would be ready for harvesting.

Mr. Dan Amed Saaka, Project Coordinator for SADA Dry Season Farming, said the project had put in place a robust team that would deliver to meet internationally acceptable levels.

Mr. Roy Ayariga, National Coordinator of NRGP said dry season farming is one of the best ways of reducing poverty and creating jobs for many people, especially the youth, to take to agriculture as the main stake of their livelihood.

He expressed gratitude that the collaboration with SADA had grown exponentially, adding "'pump irrigation alone can transform the north given the potentials of arable land available".

Mr. William Boakye-Acheapong, Northern Regional Director of Food and Agricultural Director said the core staff of his outfit is available to deliver quality services to the farmers to ensure that the desired results are achieved.

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