Tamale, Jan. 30, GNA - Food Security in the Northern Region has been slightly enhanced following an increase in production last year, Mr. Sylvester Adongo, the Regional Director of Agriculture, has said. Mr Adongo told the GNA in an interview in Tamale on Monday that the region produced 1,073,102 tonnes of yam and 10.64 tonnes per hectare last year as against 1,012,892 tonnes and 10.24 tonnes per hectare in 2005.
He attributed the achievement to improved yield, planting at the correct time and the use of new technologies.
The region produced 809,970 tonnes of cassava and 86,167 tonnes per hectare and 89,661 tonnes of groundnut and 0.85 tonnes per hectare in 2006 as against 678,754 tonnes of cassava and 77,724 tonnes of groundnuts in 2005.
Production of maize fell slightly last year to 136,227 tonnes as against 142,602 tonnes in 2005.
Mr. Adongo said improvement in crop yield and quality was partly due to the engagement of the youth in agriculture through the National Youth Employment Programme initiated by the government. He said loans were given to farmers for livestock production and that some butchers and women who process local milk also benefited from the credit facility.
New varieties of maize including the "obatampa", "okomoasa", "dodzi" and "mamaba" and rice varieties like; "tos" "GR 18" and "digan," are all doing slightly well.
Groundnuts varieties such as the "Chinese" and "mampinta" as well as soybean and cowpea varieties are being promoted in the region. Mr. Yakubu Iddriss Sheref, the Regional Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, told the GNA that mixed cropping had been introduced with cashew and mango to help improve yield.
He said the Ministry of Food and Agriculture had introduced good storage facilities and chemicals for good preservation to prevent post harvest losses.