The General Secretary of The Church of Pentecost, Apostle Alexander Nana Yaw Kumi-Larbi, has cut sod for the commencement of a 10-acre solar-powered irrigation farmland project of the church at Ankpaliga, a farming community near Zebila in the Bawku West District of the Upper East Region.
The project, which is being initiated through the Pentecost Social Services (PENTSOS), is aimed at providing sustained livelihoods for the youth in the Ankpaliga community and surrounding towns.
It is the hope of leadership that through this project young people in the northern part of the country would no longer migrate to the south in search of greener pastures.
The brief ceremony took place on Thursday, June 24, 2021, during the General Secretary’s duty trip to the region. Present at the ceremony were Apostle Sylvester Arhin (Tamale Area Head and Executive Council Member), Apostle Wilberforce Nkrumah Agyemang (Bolgatanga Area Head), Apostle Eric Boateng (Bawku Area Head), Apostle William Ohemeng-Kwakye (Sawla Area Head), Pastor Emmanuel Aidoo (Yendi Area Head), Pastor James Agyin (Project, Development and Estate Manager, COP Headquarters), and Elder Richard Amaning (PENTSOS Director), among others. The Chief of Ankpaliga, Naba Annane Abudu, was also present to witness the official commencement of the project.
During the dry season, a majority of the youth are compelled to travel to the south due to the high levels of unemployment especially during the prolonged dry season in the Northern Regions.
To help provide the youth with sustainable economic livelihoods, the church has acquired a 10-acre land for irrigation farming. The main crops that would be cultivated on the farm all year round are onions, cabbage, carrots, and pepper. The youth in the community would also have access to the irrigated land to farm the crops, especially during the dry season.
As part of this intervention, the church, in collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), would provide extension services to the farmers. They would also receive training on climate-smart farming practices.
For the project to achieve its intended goal, a deep borehole has been drilled with a yield of 100 litres per minute to supply water to the farms through drip irrigation.
The project, when completed, would directly employ about 120 young people and their families in the church and provide indirect jobs to over 300 people in the various crop value chains.
The project is estimated at a total cost of GH¢150,000.00 and is expected to be completed in October 2021.
According to the PENTSOS Director, the church intends to replicate the project in other parts of the country. “We hope that after this project, we would gain some positive as well as negative lessons to guide similar projects we would undertake in other parts of the country,” he said.
Expressing his gratitude to the church, Naba Annane Abudu admitted that his community is challenged with youth unemployment resulting from the long dry season forcing most young people to go south for better opportunities.
He was confident that the project would give the youth a reason to stay and work in the community since they can now farm all year round regardless of the climatic conditions.
“I want to assure The Church of Pentecost that you would not regret this great investment that you are making in our people through this project,” he said.