The government cannot continue to spend its earnings on importing rice whilst it has the capacity to produce enough to feed the population, Mr Kwesi Ahwoi, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, has said.
He said this on Wednesday November 24, 2010 at Sandema when he launched a “Farmers Business Book”, developed by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA).
Mr Ahwoi said the Fumbisi Valley and other irrigation facilities such as the Tono and Vea Irrigation dams among others could produce enough rice; what was needed was to place high value on rice production while creating awareness of the nutritional value of local rice.
He said it was against that background that the government established the National Food Buffer Stock Company which buys food stuff including rice from farmers to store for the lean season.
Mr Ahwoi said the government and other partners including the Agriculture Development Bank were working towards reviving the Nasia Rice Mill in the Northern Region.
He said the mill had started processing rice from the National Food Buffer Stock Company and another rice mill is being considered by the Government to be established in the Upper East Region.
Mr Ahwoi said he had discussed with the Management of the Tono Irrigation facility to complete the remaining projects so as to increase the cultivation of tomatoes to feed the Northern Star Tomato factory at Pwalugu.
There are also plans to provide more irrigation facilities and de-silt dams and dug-outs to enable more people in the area undertake dry season farming.
Mr Roy Ayariga, the Coordinator of the Northern Rural Growth Project, said the project would assist farmers by linking them to buyers, bankers, and transportation, technical support and farm inputs.
The Farmers Business Book launched contain subjects on bio-data of the farmer, the year by year production, sales and incomes, credit and repayment records as well as other farm business such as livestock.