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Business News of Monday, 18 May 2015

Source: GNA

USAID supports rice farmers in Botanga

A total of 16 lead rice farmers at the Botanga Irrigation Scheme in the Kumbungu District of the Northern Region, have each been supported with power tillers and its accessories.

The package, which is aimed at boosting rice production and encourage mechanised agriculture was made possible through USAID funded Ghana Agriculture Technology Transfer (ATT) project.

The provision of the power tillers, which is in the form of a grant, is collaboration between the ATT Project and J. K Technologies, dealers in small agricultural equipment.

Mr Michael Dockery, Chief of Party of ATT project who presented the equipment at a ceremony in Botanga at the weekend said the project identified the technology and worked with J. K Technologies to introduce it to farmers.

He explained that under the initiative, the ATT project paid 70 per cent of the cost under the project’s small equipment grant component while farmers also paid the remaining 30 per cent, which makes up to the total cost of GH? 22,000.

Mr Dockery said the power tillers have accessories including reapers and transplanters, which would reduce time and labour cost in rice production and would help increase yields, reduce poverty and to ensure food security.

“The equipment grant is just a small component-the project has introduced many agriculture technologies and best practices such as the Urea Deep Placement (UDP) to ensure farmers get high turnover,” he explained.

Mr Dockery said the aim of the initiative is to assist smallholder farmers, who could not afford the 30 per cent funding for the purchase of the machine, to have access to them.

Alhaji Mahama Bawa, Chief of Vogu and a member of the Council of State, on behalf of the beneficiaries, thanked the ATT project for the support and urged farmers to embrace the improved farming practices being introduced.

“I had the opportunity to apply one of the improved technologies called line planting and UDP, and the results were very encouraging”, he said.

Dalun-Lanaa, Alhassan Amidu, Chief of Dalun who is also a beneficiary rice farmer expressed gratitude to the USAID-ATT project for the technical support to farmers in the area, which has translated into increased production.

“The new agronomic practice introduced to rice farmers, especially in the area of fertilizer application, had boosted their production," he said adding that before the project, he could only harvest 30 bags of maxi rice bags from the three acres of land he had put under cultivation, but with the new technologies, he was able to harvest 100 maxi bags.