The Bekwai Municipal Directorate of Food and Agriculture is intensifying its efforts to empower local farmers and equip them with high-yielding oil palm seedlings to foster the expansion and cultivation of this crop within the municipality.
The ultimate goal is to establish the municipality as a key hub for large-scale palm oil production within the Ashanti region.
In partnership with the Municipal Assembly, the directorate has already provided more than 300,000 high-yielding, pest-resistant oil palm seedlings to farmers interested in cultivating this crop on their farms.
Impressively, approximately 45 percent of these seedlings have been allocated to women farmers, who are crucial contributors to food production in the area.
Mr. Emmanuel Mensah, the Municipal Director of Agriculture, revealed this initiative in response to International Rural Women's Day, organized by SOCODEVI, a Canadian organization for women in the municipality.
He emphasized the significance of equipping women farmers with modern techniques and best agricultural practices to enhance their crop yields, farm production, and overall living standards.
Oil palm cultivation has a long-established presence in the region, and by providing planting materials and training, the directorate aspires to bolster oil palm production.
This, in turn, will support the refinement of palm oil into cooking oils and other products.
Mr. Mensah commended women already involved in palm oil production and encouraged them to adhere to best practices, indicating the potential for exportation if these high standards are maintained.
In addition to oil palm production, the directorate has been training women in modern rice cultivation techniques.
This endeavor has been fruitful, as local farmers are capitalizing on rice production and extending their services to other districts.
This diverse agricultural portfolio allows them to generate additional income and livelihoods when the primary crop seasons conclude.
Furthermore, the directorate is supporting women farmers in goat rearing as an alternative source of income. So far, around 20 women have participated in this goat-rearing program.
Mr. Mensah urged farmers, particularly women, to be self-confident and take on new and challenging roles in agriculture, showcasing the determination to maximize the region's agricultural potential.