FAO Pilots Agricultural Project In West Gonja

The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations is to pilot a project to reduce rural poverty and strengthen livelihoods in 18 communities in the West Gonja District of the Northern Region. The project, dubbed Dimitra Listeners� Clubs, is a component of the FAO�s Programmatic Regional Initiative (PRI) to reduce rural poverty using cassava value chain as entry point. It also seeks to promote decent rural employment and income creation in agriculture, agro-processing, rural marketing enterprises and industries. Speaking at the launch of the project in Tamale on Tuesday, Mr Peter Anaadumba, Technical Coordinator of the PRI of the FAO, said �Dimitra Community Listeners� Clubs are informal group of men and women, who jointly listen to radio programmes, share their needs and concerns, take collective action, and network and interact with each other�. The launch also marked the opening of a four-day workshop for 30 participants comprising social community leaders, local radio representatives from the beneficiary communities, and government officials and representatives from the Association of Church-based Development NGOs (ACDEP), to build their capacity to ensure success. Mr Anaadumba said arrangements have been made with Guinness Ghana Limited to buy excess cassava from the project to brew its new flagship beer and urged the beneficiaries to work to ensure that the project succeeds. The ACDEP has been selected to implement the project, which ends in 2014, on behalf of the FAO. Mr Anaadumba said, �The themes and issues discussed and the functioning of clubs are jointly determined by the members themselves.� He said, �The clubs contribute to people�s empowerment by giving a voice and access to information to the most vulnerable and isolated rural populations, promoting social mobilization and community governance and better access to services. He said this is to support the socio-economic empowerment of rural populations, especially women, to improve their living conditions and food security through a better access to information, communication and the exchange of knowledge, practices, and experiences on agriculture amongst other issues. Mr Ali Kassim Bakari, District Chief Executive for West Gonja, pledged the support of the district assembly for the project since it would help to ensure food security in the district and the country at large.