The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) on Wednesday 16th June, 2021 at 9.00am launched the Rice Value Chain Improvement Project at Assin Fosu in the Central Region of Ghana.
A project designed to improve Rice production and productivity to support the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo led Government initiatives of attaining self-sufficient in rice production with a grant of USD 8 million from the Korea Government.
The Central Regional Minister, Hon Justina Marigold Assan stated that, “The Central Region has done its bit of trying to produce more rice to reduce this deficit over the years, President Akufo-Addo's Planting for food and Jobs has helped improve rice production in my Region" She stated.
A total number of 562.4 metric tons of seed rice was distributed to 16,068 farmers and has increased our estimated production from 2,846 metric tons in 2014 to 19,146 metric tons in 2020, She added.
Cautioned Ghanaians to direct their attention and eating habits to local food. "Homemade food and Agricultural products are equally of good quality, available, accessible, affordable and hygienically packaged for consumption she urged everybody to get involved to make sure that we develop long lasting taste for made in Ghana food.
The Country Director for Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) Mr. Mooheon Kon, applaud the Government of Ghana and the Ministry of Food and Agricultural for its efforts in prioritizing agriculture. He was optimistic that the project will yield the desired outcome of improving rice production and value and thereby enhance the livelihood and living conditions of the farmers.
Mr Seth OSei Akoto, Director for Crops Services speaking on behalf of the Sector Minister, said that rice has become an important strategic crop in the economy of Ghana and its consumption keeps increasing as a result of population growth, urbanization and change in consumer habits. In 2016, paddy rice production was estimated at 688.000 MT and has increased to around 925,000 MT by 2019.
He said that through the PFJ Campaign, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture is facilitating the production and distribution of certified rice seeds and fertilizers to increase farmers’ accessibility and affordability to increase their productivity and yields.
In 2017, under the PFJ campaign, a total of 1,698 MT of certified rice seed with complimentary fertilizers were distributed to rice farmers across the country. The increase to 6,544 MT in 2019, and to about 10,950 MT of certified rice seed with complimentary fertilizers in 2020. This alone is expected to result in the production of over 1,000.000 MT of paddy rice. The target for 2021 is about 12,000 MT I am confident that over 1,000,000 MT of paddy rice will be produced he said.
He also stated that the scope of this project would cover activities to achieve the objectives of the project and shall comprise the following:
- Increase rice production and productivity through selection of good varieties and seed distribution, training on cultivation techniques and support of agricultural machinery.
- Improve rice quality through improvement of post-harvest management technology.
- Improve rice quality by improving processing technology.
- Improve farmers’ sale price by improving capacity of farmers’ organization and marketing skills.
Mr seth Osei Akoto said that the technical assistance and knowledge transfer through dispatch of Korean Experts would focus on Project Management, Seeds Production, Rice Plant Harvest, Processing and Quality Control as well as Rice Branding and Marketing Strategies.
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) is however targeting to be rice self-sufficient by 2023/24 and therefore efforts are being put in place to achieve this target. He added.
STORY BY UROWOLI PHILLIP
ASSISTANT PRO MoFA