The Upper East Regional Minister, Stephen Yakubu, says the government’s Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) initiative has not only increased food production, but has helped reduce unemployment in the region.
He noted that this had helped reduce poverty among the youth, and contributed to the country’s drive toward food security.
Addressing journalists when he took his turn during the State of the Region Report organised by the Information Ministry yesterday in Accra, he disclosed that food production in the region had increased tremendously.
“If you look at 2017 and you look at the beneficiaries of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) in the region, it is 30,009. But run through 2021, in 2020, we witnessed 185,012 in beneficiaries in PFJ. That is a huge leap. Year-on-year, from 2017, this has contributed to an increase in food production. This has created a surplus of 179,337 metric tons of food. This tells you what the government is doing to help the region in terms of agriculture,” he said.
Mr Yakubu disclosed that the region is a major beneficiary of the $993million project, the single largest investment ever made in Northern Ghana.
“The Tono, Tame Vea and Pwalugu multipurpose dams, if completed, have the capacity to produce rice to feed the whole country. As we are worried about the amount of money being spent to import tomatoes from Burkina Faso, an improved variety has been developed, and very soon, no tomatoes will be imported from Burkina Faso. This will form part of measures to curb the depreciation of the Cedi,” he said.
Touching on progress made in the health sector in the Upper East, the Regional Minister said eight Agenda 111 projects are at various levels of completion in the region.
“Also ongoing is the construction of the district hospitals, dubbed Agenda 111. The region is benefiting from eight of such projects which are at various stages of completion and when completed, would further accelerate health service delivery in the region,” he said.
Breaking down the projects, the Minister said the areas are Binduri, Bawku West, Bolga East, Nabdam, Bindiru, Garu, Kassena-Nankana, Builsa and the Tempane districts.
Mr. Yakubu also disclosed that in addition to the eight Agenda 111 projects, the Zebilla Infectious Disease Treatment Centre is being built in the region to improve the medical diagnosis, and research capacity of the region and help identify and combat infectious diseases.
He said the facility is the first of its kind in the region, and comes with a main treatment block, an administrative block, a media Block, and an accommodation block.
He lauded the government for its commitment to improving healthcare delivery in the region. He said government’s improvement of health infrastructure is unprecedented.
These health facilities, he said, after their completion, would play a major role in healthcare delivery in the region. He stressed the need for the people of the Upper East Region to rally behind the government to bring development to the region.