The National Service Scheme (NSS) has projected a bumper harvest from its farms in the country this year.
According to the Executive Director of the scheme, Osei Assibey Antwi, investments in the NSS agricultural programme, coupled with favourable weather conditions, had made prospects for a bumper harvest, especially of maize, look good.
“Everything is going on well; we are doing three cropping cycles for maize this year, with a projected produce of 24,000 tonnes per cycle, so we project to produce 72,000 metric tonnes of maize this year, which will be a major leap from last year’s 5,000 tonnes,” he said.
Mr Antwi, who made this known in an interview with the Daily Graphic when he toured the scheme’s 140-acre maize farm at Branam in the Wenchi municipality in the Bono Region last Friday as part of his one-day working visit to the region, said the produce would be sold to generate revenue for the NSS.
At the Kumawu Youth Farm, which is an agro-industrial zone, the scheme is cultivating 5,000 acres of maize, in addition to soya and rice, while there is a 150-acre maize farm in Ejura in the Ashanti Region,
There is also a 500-acre maize farm at Abutia Kpoeta in the Volta Region, with 400-acre maize farms in Damongo in the Savannah Region and Komenda in the Central Region.
Mr Antwi said land preparation was ongoing at the Ankaful and Gomoa Lome farms in the Central Region, Papao in the Greater Accra Region, Tantala-Yazebi in the Northern Region and Anweabeng in the Eastern Region.
The executive director said since the Russia-Ukraine war had resulted in a global food and fertiliser crisis, the NSS decided to rely on the application of organic fertiliser, which had so far been good.
Furthermore, he said, for the first time in the programme, a fully mechanised irrigation-supported project, which is also integrated in such a manner that nothing on the farm will go waste, was taking place on the Kumawu farms.
Mr Antwi said service persons who completed their one-year mandatory service and training at the various farms and were willing to venture into agriculture as a profession would be supported with resources to do that.
He also said the scheme was collaborating with traditional authorities across the country to acquire more farmlands.
Mr Antwi said organisations, such as the MasterCard Foundation, had accepted the NSS proposal to release funds to support the scheme’s farming agenda.
He was accompanied by the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regional Director of the scheme, Prince Kankam Boadu; the Deputy Director of the NSS, Kwaku Ohene Gyan, and the Business Development Officer at the NSS Head Office, Gabriel Osei.