Some rice farmers in Atiwa District, Eastern Region, say that the productivity of their farms has improved as a result of their decision to plant improved seeds.
Through the “Public-Private Partnership for Competitive and Inclusive Rice Value Chain Development” project, AGRA supported farmers with improved seeds, village advisors (VBAs) were trained to support them, and links have been created between farmers, input dealers and markets.
Godfred Mensah Amenyo, a farmer, said, “Inputs help us increase productivity. I got 65 bags of rice from my 4 acre field this year. This same farm size previously only gave me 20 bags.
” It is most encouraging. Thanks to the project, poverty has decreased,” said Reindorf Nakuja, a VBA, when some project officials visited the district.
In general, the productivity of rice farms increased from 1.8 to 2.5 metric tons per hectare to between 3 and 5 metric tons per hectare in some project communities.
Atiwa East District Director of Agriculture, Samuel Ofosu, said, “We have even been able to increase our production up to 5 tonnes per hectare since the last production season. We have also developed the Atiwa Rice brand. Marketing is therefore not a challenge because we have been able to bag some of our rice. »
Through the Ghana Rice Project, over 3,000 metric tons of AGRA certified and improved rice seed produced by the Kumasi Crops Research Institute has been multiplied and distributed to farmers.
In addition, more than 200 agro-dealers and about 256 village advisors have been trained to support farmers.
The capacity of more than 46 rice mills has been built. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been invested in agricultural infrastructure, including the Botanga rice irrigation program for the benefit of farmers.
Challenges in Ghana’s rice sector
Rice remains one of Ghana’s main staple foods. On average, each Ghanaian consumes about 63 kg of rice per year. According to the Oxford Business Group, in 2017 alone, 1.3 million tons of rice were consumed in Ghana. The only problem is that out of this, only 720,000 tons representing 55% were produced in the country.
The rest was imported from Thailand, Vietnam, India and other countries. The Group estimates that in 2015 alone, Ghana spent $1.2 billion in foreign exchange to import rice. On average, Ghana spends over US$600 million a year on rice imports.
Food and Agriculture Minister Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto said: “It’s really scary that we have land in the center, Ashanti, not to mention the savannah areas that can feed near the half of West Africa, and we spend almost half of our main cocoa export earnings ($1 billion) on importing rice. It’s a disaster.”
In 2018, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) rolled out the project in partnership with the Hopeline Institute, John A. Kufuor Foundation, Sparkx Farms, Volta City Farms and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. ‘Agriculture.
The €2 million project aims to build the capacity of more than 128,000 small-scale rice farmers across the country to ensure efficient and profitable operations.
It also aims to strengthen and expand smallholder farmers’ access to input and output markets for increased production and incomes.
The project also aims to encourage increased consumption of Ghanaian rice.