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Project to boost rice production in Northern Ghana initiated


2009-06-08 23:33:44
This article has been read 832 times.

Rice farmers in the country are to benefit from a three-year project aimed at providing them with certified rice seeds and fertilizer to boost rice production. Under the project, known as the "Emergency Rice Initiative Project" (ERIP), each farmer would receive 12 kilogrammes of rice seed per half an acre of land at subsidized prices. Dr Stephen Nutsugah, National Coordinator of ERIP announced this at a seed fair at Fuu in the East Gonja District organized by Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) to sensitise farmers and implementing agencies.


He explained that the initiative was collaboration of the African Rice Centre Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the International Centre for Soil Fertility and Agricultural Services. Dr Nutsugah said the initiative targeted 10,000 poor farming families in Ghana, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal to boost total domestic rice production in those countries by producing 30,000 tonnes of paddy rice, which currently, has a market value of about 21 million dollars. He said the project was aimed at improving farmers' access to rice seed and fertilizer and to expand knowledge on best-bet rice technologies through existing distribution channels such as the private sector, government and non-governmental agencies. Dr Nutsugah said the farmers would also gain access to best rice technology practices through on-the-job training and on videos, radio and television broadcast.

Mr Sylvester Adongo, Regional Director of Food and Agriculture in a speech read for him, said seed distribution and marketing were the most important components in the production chain but unfortunately they ranked highest on the list of problems confronting the seed industry. He said this was reflected in the quantities of seed produced and the quantities sold out over the years in the Northern Region. Mr Adongo said it was an irony that many farmers in the rural areas complained of lack of improved quality seed for planting while seed growers were faced with seed not being sold. He noted that at the current seed production levels, if every farmer was to use the improved seed, the region would be meeting 20 per cent of its seed requirement.

Source:GNA

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