Rice farmers in the Ho Municipality and the Adaklu District are to benefit from a support programme towards the adoption of best practices in rice production in rain-fed farming areas.
Wienco Ghana Limited, an agricultural commodity trading company, is partnering the Small Action for Enterprise (SAFE) Ghana on a “2-Scale” project to educate the farmers, and provide loan facilities and other support for quality output.
Mr. Eugene Zori, Extension Supervisor of Wienco’s Copper Connect, the Company’s rice support unit, at a rice farmers Association meeting in Ho, said farming protocols varied between irrigation and rain-fed farms, and that his outfit would be monitoring them to ensure the production of quality paddies.
He said the quality of the paddies were also dependent on handling and processing, and added that his outfit would promptly lift the harvests for processing to curb post-harvest losses and meet market demand.
Mr Zori said Copper Connect’s packages included a five- year input support for small scale farmers which would include education on how to apply them.
He said the company had extension officers in the districts it operated who would work with farmers associations and individual croppers to ensure quality yeild.
Mr Zori assured the farmers that Copper Connect’s credit facilities were flexible, and gave farmers total control over the market value or their produce, and encouraged them to join the initiative.
Mr. Patrick Avumegah, Executive Director for SAFE Ghana, said the “2scale” initiative would help develop quality rice seeds and improve quality rice production and processing in the Region.
He said applying improved methodologies in rice cultivation had been a major challenge to farmers in Region and that the initiative would help train farmers to adopt new technologies.
Mr. Avumegah said the Region was a leading producer of rice, but post-harvest losses negatively affected its harvest and urged farmers to adopt new farming methods.
He called on the various assemblies to help secure government support for farmers, especially in the area of engineered fields and machinery.
The project, supported by the Dutch Government would help link rice farmers to buyers, technical support providers, banks and other partners, and also access profitable markets for their produce.
Mr Nelson Akorli, Ho Municipal Chief Executive, said the Assembly would be establishing an industrial bio-gas digester to produce energy, and charged farmers to produce enough farm and animal waste to feed the plant.
He said Government’s ‘One District One Warehouse’ initiative was currently underway and would provide a ready market for farm produce.
The meeting attracted about 100 rice farmers who called for the establishment of a secretariat for rice cultivators in the Region and also appealed to Government to provide engineered fields and improve seeds to augment production.