Reverend John Manu, Ashanti Region Director of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), has reiterated the commitment of government to mechanised rice farming in order to help boost local production of the crop in the country.
He said the focus of government in the MOFA/JICA TENSUI (Rain-fed) Phase II partnership project is to help increase rice production, improve quality of local rice to increase domestic consumption, and help reduce importation of the crop into the country.
Rev. Manu was speaking at a stakeholders’ forum on rice production at Dadease in the Sekyere-Kumawu district.
The forum, which coincided with a field-trip, was to introduce farmers to the JICA Rice Production method and the MOFA/JICA TENSUI rice project to farmers in the district.
Rev. Manu said as part of the process to change the face of rice production and processing in Ghana, government is facilitating the establishment of modern rice mills with requisite machines and equipment in some districts to enhance the quality and consumer preference for the local brand of rice.
Government is also training Agricultural Extension Assistants (AEAs) to provide technical services; such as land development and water management, rice cultivation techniques, farm management and support systems to rice farmers.
He urged the farmers to accept and apply good agronomic practices such as timely planting and transplanting, proper nursery-bed preparation, timely fertiliser application, and right drainage systems among others in order to ensure increased production.
Mr. Samuel Addai Agyekum, District Chief Executive (DCE) for the area, commended the MOFA and JICA for the initiative, and said the district is ready to host and promote the project to help boost local rice production in the area, considering the vast amount of arable land and the suitable climatic conditions for rice production.
Mrs. Yaa Pokuaa, the Ashanti Region Coordinator of the MOFA/JICA TENSUI Phase II partnership project, said the focus is to boost rice production in the twenty selected districts which have been signed onto the project in the region.
She said through the project, AEAs from the Ahafo-Ano North, Adansi South and North, Asante Akim North, Sekyere Central, Sekyere Kumawu and others are receiving training to support farmers in the use of the modern but simple and friendly technologies which have been introduced to them.