The Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) in collaboration with the Northern Rural Growth Programme (NRGP) has begun land preparations to engage several farmers in the three Northern Regions to produce quantities of butter nut squash for export to Europe during the winter.

The Mino Weir and Willis (MWW) group of companies, a Birmingham based supplier of fresh exotic fruits and vegetables to the European market had demanded from SADA to provide it with 40-footey container of butternut to be supplied during the window-winter of 2013 which also falls within the dry season in Ghana.

In line with that, the SADA and the NRGP had been working assiduously by linking roads to the farming sites at Gbetuor in the Jirapa District where over 300 farmers were going to be engaged to utilize the tributary of the White Volta for irrigation of vegetables especially.

Alhaji Gilbert Seidu Iddi, the Chief Executive Officer of the SADA disclosed this at Gbetuor on Thursday as part of a two-day inspection tour to some ongoing projects sites of the SADA in the Northern and Upper West Regions.

The tour had on Wednesday taken the team to West Gonja in the Northern Region where the CEO expressed gratitude to the positive outlook of most of the farms he saw cultivating the hybrid maize, a new high yielding variety of maize brought into the country to increase farmer’s yield.

He said the SADA and the NRGP had taken major steps at cultivating the butternut squash in commercial quantities in the Gbetuor and Meto` in the Upper West Region, Pwulugu in the Upper East Region and Kukobilla and Yapei in the Northern Region.

The CEO said land clearing, ploughing, inputs such as fertilizers and chemicals as well as technical advice would be provided to the farmers to ensure that they were able to meet the demand and even exceed it saying “The surplus would be supplied to the local market which has also been demanding for the product”.

Alhaji Iddi said the purpose was to tackle unemployment and reduce poverty in the Northern part of the country to reverse the migration trend of the youth from the North to Southern Ghana in search of non-existent jobs.

He said the butternut squash takes only three months to harvest noting that it has a high nutritional value and encouraged more farmers in the Northern Ghana to take advantage of the opportunity to improve on their economic conditions since the area has the potential for the crop.

Mr. Joseph Yang Faalong, the Upper West Regional Director of MOFA said an investment capital of GHc50 million is being committed into the preparation and cultivation of the crop in the Upper West Region adding that lip pumps, floating devises would soon be installed on the site and by the end of October, the dry season farming will start.

He said the places identified for the production of the butternut were low laying areas with perennial sources of water for dry season irrigation adding that other vegetables such as okro, pepper, cabbage could also be produced alongside the nut.