In fulfillment of a campaign promises to alleviate poverty among his people, Hon Benson Tongo Baba, the Member of Parliament for Talensi in the Upper East Region, has rolled out socio-economic intervention policies to lift the constituent from extreme poverty.
According to him, in the run up to the 2016 general elections, he promised to transform the area by first initiating poverty reduction policies to bridge the yawning gap of development among the constituent and other parts of the country when elected.
Thankfully, he said, he was elected into parliament haven obtained 12,874 votes cast representing 41.68%, hence the initiative of the agriculture revolution and health transformation as part of social intervention policies, to cater for the people of Talensi, especially youth and women.
The Talensi constituency which is also a District is bordered to the north by the Bolgatanga Municipality, to the south by the West and East Mamprusi districts (both in the Northern Region), to the west by Kassena-Nankana district, and to the east by the Bawku West and Nabdam districts.
The population of Talensi District, according to the 2010 Population and Housing Census, is 81,194 representing 7.8 percent of the region’s total population. Males constitute 49.7 percent and females represent 50.3 percent. Eighty four percent of the population is rural.
Transforming agriculture beyond the hitherto hand-to-mouth sustenance farming is something that is in the cards of the lawmaker’s economic transformation agenda.
Indeed, with the army of unemployed youth in the constituency couple with poverty due to insufficient rains for farming, the new sing song in the district has been irrigation farming and quality education, principally agriculture.
However, the crux of the matter is making agriculture true mainstay of the economic by making it attractive, nay profitable business venture. It is here Hon B. T Baba vision stands aside of the pack.
He told THE REPUBLIC that, the effort is to reduce poverty through agriculture.
As a result the MP said he has provided tractors, knapsacks, wellington boots to women in Shea nut picking and drilled about 30 boreholes in the farming communities.
In addition to that, Mr Baba said, in order to help farmers cross rivers for farming, especially during floods by the annual spillage’s of the Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso, he provided over 20 canoes and as well supplied over 80 handheld pumping machines for dry season farming.
A Shea Nut processing plan, he stated has also been provided to enable women process Shea butter for local consumption and foreign exchanges, adding that, “I has also provided five Incubators to some of my constituents guinea fowls farming and and they currently produces about 10,000 guinea-fowls.”
Guinea fowl production within the Talensi constituency he said, has received a major boost following the provision of the five incubators for hatching, saying, ” these incubators has resulted in the hatching of 2000 fowls within 28 days, 10,000 fowls in a month. For the past six-seven months now, 120,000 guinea fowls were hatched.”
He expressed confident of the sustainability as most of the youth in the area have taken up the challenge and are going into agriculture, stating, ” this has encouraged me to do more to help them.”
With all these socio-economic intervention policies, the Talensi lawmaker said, the health needs of his people are paramount and that he had given out GHS70,000 from his MPs National Health Insurance Scheme(NHIS) Fund to the District Directorate of Health.
The purpose, he said is to procure drugs for common ailment like High Blood Pressure(BP), mental health patients, pregnant women and Anti Snake Venom (ASV) for victims of snake bites.
Mr Baba said, Talensi has the capacity to feed the entire nation should government harness the work of farmers with appropriate farming implements and funds, “stating, apart from rains, the farmers only needs tractors and possibly supply of fertilisers and they can produce food enough to feed this country.”
He added that, since his initiative in the constituency, there has been abundant of maize, onion, tomatoes, okra, millet, pepper, and many other crops, which are mostly farmed by women, ” nothing, ” this has stopped the women from migrating to other parts of the country to look for jobs.”
On education in general, the MP said, he had devoted a whopping sum of his MPs Common Fund to provide scholarship to both basic and tertiary students to reduce the burden on parents as part of measures to boast standard of education in the constituency.
Already, he said through the MP office, many tertiary students from the constituency are been granted scholarship to pursue various courses, saying, “with my MPs Common, students who are pursuing various courses are been sponsored and I am looking out for more of such students to support.”
With regards to roads network, Hon Baba said several road works that commenced under NDC regime have been abandoned, making transportation of goods to markets and farm produces from farms very difficult.
For instance, he said, culverts on some of the roads have been left on the construction site making it difficult for motorists to meander and called on the Ministry of Roads and Highways to speed up process to get the contractors back on sites.
He said with the availability of good roads, the constituent who are mainly farmers would increase their production as they would have opportunity to cart their produces to market centres timely to avoid post harvest lose.
All these, the Talensi lawmaker said, would help reduce the economic hardship and also open up the area for investors, which in his view would ultimately alleviate extreme poverty among the people.
Mr Baba also want the current government to continue with projects commenced by the previous National Democratic Congress administration, especially education, roads and health projects in the constituency.
He said, even though the NDC government did well in provision of CHIP Compound for the constituency to reduce health and its related problems, there are other facilities which need the government urgent attention and promised to continually knocking at the doors of the government for the projects.
He want government to continue and complete the projects in time, especially feeder roads in the constituency to enable farms and other commuters.
The former Sports Administrator expressed thankful to the constituent for the support given him, especially the Chiefs, new District Chief Executive, all political parties leaders, women groups and the entire youth based and urged them to remained peaceful to each other but hopeful.
The MP said, there could not be development without peace and cooperation, promising he would never let them down as their MP and vowed to deliver high quality services in parliament and at the constituency.
He reassured the effort to lobby government to put up a number of education facilities in most of the deprived communities to enable pupil to have conducive and safe environment for teaching and leaning in the constituency.
Source: the republic Newsline.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba