PIX: Executive Director of NSS, Mr Osei Assibey Antwi (left) conducting Bryan Acheampong, Ghana’s Agric Minister around the commercial farms at the Sekyere Kumawu enclave.
The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Bryan Acheampong, the National Service Scheme (NSS) for consciously investing in large scale commercial farming.
He was particularly impressed with the visionary leadership of the Executive Director, Osei Assibey Antwi and his management team of the NSS for their extraordinary commitment to agricultural development.
Speaking during a visit to the 20, 000 acre Sekyere Kumawu Economic Enclave Project (SKEEP)of the NSS at Abotantire in the Sekyere Afram Plains district of the Ashanti Region on Monday, the Minister said, “I am highly encouraged with what I have seen here and for NSS to carry out this huge investment is only commendable”.
The SKEEP, which is the biggest farming project in the history of the NSS, seeks among other things, to support for import substitution, ensure food and nutritional security and attract and retain graduate youth into commercial agriculture and its value chain.
Mr Acheampong asked the farm operators to maintain the standards and use high yielding seedlings so that it can fetch the Scheme the needed returns.
He encouraged the NSS to grow more species of onions, adding that the market for onions would be lucrative due to uncertainty in the situation in Niger, a known onion producing country.
The Minister who was joined by his team of officials from the Ministry, was accompanied by the Executive Director of the NSS, Osei Assibey Antwi and his staff as well as NSS personell to tour the farm areas.
The team inspected the aqua culture container ponds, the maize plantations, sorghum, rice and others.
Using a tractor for the tour of the vast farms, the team also visited other large tracts of land which are yet to be cultivated and also toured the irrigation sites where sprinklers had been mounted to give water throughout the crop seasons.
Earlier on, the team went round the on- site accommodation structure which when completed would house NSS personnel who would be posted to work on the farms.
The Minister before departure also visited the NSS storage facility at Agogo where the Scheme had stored produce that had been harvested for sale and distribution.
Welcoming the team earlier, Osei Assibey Antwi said the idea of large scale farm is to produce to feed the populace and support government agencies to run the Buffer Stock and Ghana School Feeding programmes.
Currently, he noted that the Scheme has lands in the Volta , Ashanti, Northern, Bono and Ahafo regions.
He told the Minister that the scheme was deploying personnel to the education, Police, private and Business Development sectors.
“This year we have deployed 7, 000 persons into the education sector and this has reduced government expenditure by GhC1.3billion and we intend to deploy about 5, 000 personnel into farming so that we can work to produce outcomes that would be beneficial to Ghana, ” the NSS Executive Director stated.
Story By Michael Ofosu-Afriyie,