farmers
Farmers

The Upper East Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) is committed to building market linkages for rice and helping to improve its packaging, Mr Francis Ennor, the Regional Director has said.

The Director said simple and handy machines for processing of rice, which farmers found difficult to access during harvesting were also in the pipeline for small scale rice farmers to process paddy rice.

Mr Ennor said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region, following the abundant rice harvest in the region and the appeal of farmers to the government to help market the produce.

He said MoFA directorate in the region made efforts through its staff to increase Agriculture production this year with the support of government.

“The Savanna Rice Productivity Project of MOFA, held preliminary stakeholder discussions with all in the rice value chain and made commitments to the drive for improved rice production in the region.”

He pointed out that the success was also due to timely release of rice seed supply to farmers under the government’s Special Rice Initiative, where every district was tasked to produce rice.

The Director urged farmers not to be discouraged by the lack of market at the beginning of the harvest period, but to take farming as a business and be mindful of ‘middle men’ who would try to exploit them.

He said some agents among others such as the Buffer stock company had since, visited to assess the situation and mop up the excess rice for storage.

He said the Directorate and hardworking farmers did a lot to promote rice production in the region this year “but for disappointment from buyers such as HAVNASH among others which led to more than 100,000 bags of rice harvested by farmers in the region to fail in getting the needed market, all would have been happy with the results of their hard work”, he added.

“The region has a potential for rice production and therefore we must patronise our own Bolga rice”, Mr Francis stressed.

The region has benefitted from some capacity building and support to improve rice productivity in the country, which include; the Emergency Rice Initiative Project launched in 2008 with the objective to increase rice production to ensure food security in the country.

Also under the Rice Scaling Up Project (RSSP), the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) offered training to farmers to help improve seed planning and connect to actors in the rice value chain.

One of the recent programmes to boost rice production in the country is the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) which also developed six new rice varieties locally to boost rice production, improve quality and reduce rice importation.

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