The Government of Ghana as part of her efforts to increase and improve the quality of locally-produced rice in the year 2003 sourced for a concessional loan of Two million, six hundred and fifty thousand Units of Account (2,650,000 UA) equivalent to USD3,840,000.00 to promote the upland Nerica rice in the country from the the African Development Bank (AfDB). The Government of Ghana also supported the project with a counterpart funding of five hundred and three thousand, five hundred Units of Account (503,500.00 UA) equivalent to USD730,000.00 in the project.
The main goal of the Project is to contribute to poverty-reduction and food security, through enhanced access to high yielding NERICA upland rice varieties.
The objective(s) of the Project are (i) to contribute to increasing locally produced rice for food security; and (ii) to conserve foreign exchange earnings through import substitution.
The NRDP was designed to be piloted in three main districts in three regions, namely (i) Tolon-Kumbungu (Northern); (ii) Ejura-Sekyedumasi (Ashanti); and Hohoe (Volta) but in the course of implementation, seven additional districts have been covered, these are: Savelugu-Nanton, Central Gonja, West Gonja (Northern); Atebubu-Amantin (Brong Ahafo); and Kpando, Jasikan, Kadjebi (Volta).
The NRDP has four (4) components (a) Technology Transfer, (b) Production Support, (c) Capacity Building, and (d) Project Coordination. Several achievements have been chalked across the components over the project life. Listed below are some of the key areas of achievement.
(i) Seed Production and Distribution: The Nerica Project within its implementation arrangement used the Community Seed Multiplication System (CBSS) approach to ensure that farmers have easy access to quality seed in sufficient quantities at the right time.
In a collaborative arrangement with relevant institutions, a cumulative total of 98.5mt of foundation seeds of Nerica varieties were generated to support the Project’s seed stocking and multiplication scheme. This stock of foundation seeds also enabled 25 trained core seed grower groups to produce a total of 1,128.07mt of certified seeds for sale and distribution to grain producing farmers in the districts already mentioned. This quantity of seed is sufficient to cultivate 22,561.4 hectares of land, a cumulative achievement over the five years of implementation.
(i) Under the complementary technologies testing programme, fertilizer requirement levels have also been established for the three agro-ecologies (savanna, transitional and forest) within which the Nerica varieties were piloted. Among others, weed management regimes, plant density and spacing tests were conducted.
(i) Estimated Quantity of rice produced
Over the Project period, interested farmers in the relevant communities were mobilized, sensitized and supported to go into upland Nerica rice production. As at the beginning of the 2010 cropping season, there was a cumulative number of 875 farmer groups who are recognized beneficiaries of the Project.
For the 2010 season, approximately 2,083.8 hectares have been cultivated to the Nericas in the three (3) main project districts and seven (7) adjoining districts. Out of this, 500 hectares was cultivated under the project’s block cropping by groups and schools.
For the 5 years cumulative an area of 22,561.4 hectares, yielding approximately 56,400 metric tones of paddy Nerica rice has been achieved. This quantity of rice translates into 36,660 metric tons of milled rice.
(i) Community Based Facilities
(i) Rice Milling Centres: Among others, the Project has sought to demonstrate the capacity to enhance the competitiveness of locally-produced rice along the value-chain. To achieve this, demonstrations for improved post-harvest handling practices were one of the vehicles adopted. The Project introduced standard rice mills, storage and in-field drying facilities. Three (3) milling facilities, comprising (a) a store, (b) mill house, (iii) a 1500-1700kg per hour capacity milling equipment, (iv) standby-generators, and (v) drying floors were put up in Ejura, Hohoe and Kumbungu respectively. The combined rice milling equipment consists of feedhopper, bucket elevator, pre-cleaners and destoners, huller, sorter, polisher and grader.
(i) Opening-up Producing Areas to Enhance Rice Marketing: The Project being a pilot, also undertook a modest rehabilitation of about 20 kilometers of feeder roads in the three (3) main project districts. The expected socio-economic advantage to be derived is to enable paddy rice and other foodstuffs to be transported easily from the fields to the market centres.
Schools and some public institutions in the various districts undertook cultivation of the Nericas as part of the block farming. A total of 70ha was targeted for the schools/institutions.