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Food security Empower rice farmers to boost production- V/R Agric Director

Mr. Larbi said government remains committed to empowering the lives of smallholder farmers, but that agenda can be pushed further by a vibrant public-private partnership that will drive the country’s growth.

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The Volta Regional Director of Agriculture, Kofi Larbi, has called for the need to empower local rice farmers in other to boost production to meet growing demands.

The national quest to make rice production more competitive on both the domestic and foreign markets will largely depend on empowering smallholder farmers and actors engaged in the value chain,” he said.

He made the call when the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) donated some working tools to Prairie Volta Rice Limited (PVL), at Aveyime-Battor in the Volta Region.

FAO is providing technical assistance to Government of Ghana under the project “Enhancing Rice Production and Youth Employment in Ghana Using the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Approach”.

Read more: Gov't not committed to agriculture mechanization –Report

The project aims at promoting youth employment and skills development, enhancing the use of improved technology by small holder farmers for efficient rice production and marketing and increasing income levels of farmers.

Mr Larbi said empowering rice farmers will address food security.

Local rice consumption has increased significantly, and there is therefore a need to boost production capacity to address food security.

If rice farmers are empowered, rice will be produced to meet the right quality, taste and consumer preference, aside from reducing production costs to maximise yields and profit margins,” he added.

Mr. Larbi said government remains committed to empowering the lives of smallholder farmers, but that agenda can be pushed further by a vibrant public-private partnership that will drive the country’s growth.

Dr. Adebe Haile-Gabriel, the FAO’s Representative to Ghana, also said productivity can only be achieved by enhancing the farmers’ production techniques.

He said: “Rice yields in the country have been low, hence the need to boost production capacity; the hands and hoe approach to rice farming cannot increase production and ensure the right standards as required by both the domestic and foreign markets."

Read more:100,000 youth to be engaged in the agric sector

“Rice naturally has to be processed, but that cannot be achieved at the household level as the right quality and taste cannot be met. There must be strong collaboration between rice farmers and processors, with the needed support from government and other agric-related stakeholders.”

Dr. Abebe encouraged farmers to actively participate in this innovative PPP in a win-win situation to enhance the rice value chain development, and reiterated FAO’s commitment to   provide technical support and advice throughout the duration of the project which is a period of two years.

PVL owns 1,250 ha of land in the North Tongu District, Volta Region of which 710 ha is fully irrigated and currently under rice cultivation, mechanized equipment and a mill with the processing capacity of 60,000 tonne per year

The FAO provided 500 pieces of manual knapsack sprayers, rain-boots, rubber hand-gloves, chemical nose-masks, five sets of desktop computers, raincoats, shovels and a laptop for the PVL as part of its contribution to the project’s implementation.

 

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