The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has directed the Tree Crops Development Authority (TCDA) to distribute five million seedlings of tree crops to farmers across the country this year.
The crops are shea nut, cashew nut, mango, coconut and rubber.
The seedlings will be distributed through regional directorates of agriculture after they have registered the beneficiary farmers.
Last year, the authority distributed 1.2 million seedlings of the crops to farmers across the country.
In addition, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources is to roll out a separate project with oil palm to reclaim all illegal mining (galamsey) sites.
Under the special project, the ministry will plant about two million seedlings of oil palm in areas destroyed by galamsey activities.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the TCDA, Mr William A Quaittoo, announced this at a close-out meeting of the European Union (EU) co-funded Bono-Asante Atea (BAAT) project in Sampa in the Jaman North District in the Bono Region last Monday.
The BAAT was a three-year cashew development intervention project implemented by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in five cashew growing districts in three regions.
The beneficiary districts were Jaman North, Tain and Wenchi in the Bono Region; Nkoranza North in the Bono East Region and Ejura-Sekyeredumase in the Ashanti Region.
The objective of the project was to increase employment in the cashew value chain of 14,500 people, especially women and the youth, while improving beneficiary assemblies’ cashew revenue by some 10 per cent.
It was also to increase the income of beneficiaries by some 30 per cent, in addition to educating them on climate change adoption.
In all, 75,000 community members, made up of permanent and casual cashew industry workers, transporters, cashew processors and exporters, municipal and district assemblies (MDAs) and departments of agriculture, were said to have benefited from the project.
Mr Quaittoo advised the public against playing politics with agricultural issues, especially the registration for and distribution of the crop seedlings, saying: “Don’t register through any political system and do not politicise the agricultural sector.”
He asked regional directors of agriculture to allow eligible farmers, irrespective of their political parties, to register for the seedlings and also urged farmers to form groups for the exercise.
“Let us think of the development of this country first; so do not be selective in the registration for and distribution of the seedlings,” he added.
According to Mr Quaittoo, Ghana currently produced 160,000 metric tonnes of cashew and said there was the need to improve on the production level.
The Country Director of ADRA, Dr William Yaw Brown, commended cashew value chain actors for their hard work to increase yields.
He said the introduction of beehives on cashew plantations was an innovative way of increasing the revenue of farmers.
For his part, the Bono Regional Director of Agriculture, Mr Denis Abugri Amenga, expressed appreciation to ADRA for its intervention.