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Business News of Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Source: thebftonline.com

Rice farmland preparation paramount to self-sufficiency target – GRIB

President of GRIB, Nana Kwabena Adjei-Ayeh II, and some members President of GRIB, Nana Kwabena Adjei-Ayeh II, and some members

The president of the Ghana Rice Inter-Professional Body (GRIB), Nana Kwabena Adjei-Ayeh II, has said until government puts in some measures to support the proper preparation of rice farmlands, targets for self-sufficiency will be difficult to achieve.

According to him, there are good intentions for rice farmers but little is seen on the ground to help their operations.

“Rice cultivation demands some special attention, not like cassava or yam, the reason we have been hammering on land development; this means putting the right machines on the land and preparing land for the cultivation of rice.

“The preparation must come along with dams, knowing the nature of the crop being cultivated. We have said that the focus should not be big dams but something small that can support the farmers to have water all year round.

“After developing the land, then all the other things will fall into place. You can have your good seed, engage in good agriculture practices and use combine harvesters and agrochemicals, but the basic requirement is proper preparation on the land.”

Nana Kwabena Adjei-Ayeh II said this to the media after the presentation of an advocacy paper on mechanization and infrastructure delivery for the rice value chain, commissioned by the John Agyekum Kufuor Foundation.

The research used data from 143 rice production districts and 10 regions and found that farmers in the Volta Region are the most efficient in the country – producing 5.1 metric tonnes from 0.8 hectares while farmers in Northern Ghana, though they cultivate larger tracts (two hectares), produce the least amount of rice on average in the country.

Policy Advisor at the John Agyekum Kufuor Foundation, Nana Ama Oppong-Duah, in an interview with The Finder said in collaboration with mechanization service providers, the Foundation is helping provide easy access to these services for farmers who need their services the most.

As part of the mechanization agenda, they are looking forward to bringing mechanization services to cassava farmers in the country.

In 2020, for instance, the country produced 919.8 metric tonnes of rice while consumption was more than double the amount produced.

GRIB scepticism

The Ghana Rice Inter-Professional Body (GRIB) has expressed strong scepticism about government’s projection that the nation will attain rice self-sufficiency by 2023. GRIB is convinced that the current state of rice production – from seed planting to the final product – does not support the attainment of government’s projection.

According to GRIB, since the day government through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) announced that the nation will be self-sufficient in rice in the next two years they have intentionally monitored activities toward attaining the target, but its members are yet to be convinced that the target is attainable.