Source: savannanews24.com/Kwesi Akowuah
The Department of Agriculture in collaboration with the Tolon District Assembly has presented 11 portable and easy to use rice harvesters to the Bela Nnabra rice farmer group in Kamonaayili, a community under the Tolon District.
The group is one of the many others to benefit from the Modernizing Agriculture in Ghana (MAG) program funded by the Canadian government in the district.
The MAG program which evolved from the FABS and SFASDEP is a CAD five-year 135million initiative by the Canadian government for Ghana to aid decentralize the Ghanaian agricultural sector implementation responsibilities to the various Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) under the Ministry of Local Government and Rural sector budget support programs.
For the past five years of its implementation, the initiative was focused on demand research and alternative methods of extension delivery targeted at addressing productivity and value chain development management in order to have increased farm produce and added value.
Addressing the Bela Nnabra rice farmersgroup at the Assembly, the District Chief Executive of the Tolon District, Hon. FuseiniIssifu Salifu Moshie hinted that, the Agric Minister is working with the Brazilian government to secure some agricultural machines that will facilitate the modernizing and mechanizing of the Ghanaian agricultural sector, in order to attract the youth and limit import of rice into the country.
According to him, the production of rice needs to be increased at a significant rate to promote the Agenda Grow and Eat locally produced products to create more employment avenues and increase farmers’ income.
The DCE also cautioned the farmers to properly use the machines presented to them and ensure that they regularly maintain and service them, so that the machines will not be beneficial to them only but also to other rice farmers in the community and district at large.
He commended that Department of Agriculture and the field officers for their efforts in ensuring that farmers in the district have access to improved agricultural technologies and farm machineries.
The District Director of Agriculture, Abukari Yakubu also noted that, acquisition of combine harvesters by smallholder farmers was a major challenge, and the easy to use and portable rice harvesters presented to the farmers will reduce this burden drastically.
He stressed that, since 1960, the country’s consumption of rice in 2017 rose to an average of 12% with a $1.1billion rice import, which is very deadly to the Ghanaian economy.
Mr. Yakubu therefore called on the farmers to use the machines to their benefit in order to maximize their harvest and assist other rice farmers in the community and district at large to increase rice harvests in the country.
The farmers thanked the Assembly for the gesture and assured that the machines presented to them will be used resourcefully to increase rice output in the district.
They added that, this will also aid curb the numerous bush fire cases in the district and grant them the opportunity to make extra income.
They however called on the government to make provisions for them in the near future by providing them tractors that will aid them covey their farm produce from their various farms to the market.