MOFA receives 120 new combine harvesters

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) has received 120 new combine harvesters from Foton Ghana Limited to assist rice farmers in the three northern regions to harvest their crop.

The combine harvesters were provided by Foton Ghana Limited, a company involved in the importation of agricultural machinery to help modernize and boost food production in the country.

Mr Yaw Efaa-Baafi, a Deputy Minister of MOFA for crops who handed over the combine harvesters to the Northern Regional Directorate of the Ministry in Tamale on Thursday, said government in its efforts to accelerate rural development through agriculture was adopting a policy of modernizing agriculture through mechanization.

He said this was aimed at increasing production, reducing drudgery and fatigue involved in farming, as well as making farming appealing to the youth, adding that it was in line with this that MOFA was promoting commercial rice and maize production across the country to enhance food security and emergency preparedness.

He expressed the hope that the provision of the harvesters would go a long way to enhance the timely harvesting of rice and commended Foton Ghana Limited for its assistance in that direction.

He said some of the combine harvesters would be sold to individuals and urged those who had the ability to come forward and purchase. He indicated that the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) and Stanbic Bank had shown commitment to support MOFA to fully pay for the machines.

Mr Efaa-Baafi announced that the Agricultural Engineering Services Directorate (AESD) of MOFA had put in place a programme to update the technical skills of operators and mechanics throughout the country.

He said the aim was to make all mechanics and operators efficient in the handling and operation of machinery such as the combine harvesters for improved performance and better output.

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Mr Effa-Baafi urged local agents responsible for the importation of agricultural  machinery and their overseas manufacturers to support the AESD and MOFA both technically and financially to continue to give training to the operators and mechanics of the machines.

Nana Yaw Sarkordie Aboagye, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Foton Ghana Limitted said the company decided to import the combine harvesters because it wanted to ensure that the sad spectacle of rice burning that had almost become a ritual in the north because of the lack of combine harvesters to facilitate the timely harvest of rice became a thing of the past.

He urged farmers to ensure the proper preparation of their fields because it could impact negatively on the use of machinery such as the combine harvesters.

Mr Moses Bukari Mabengba, Northern Regional Minister in a speech read for him, noted that although the Region had great potential in rice production the lack of logistics and motivation had been drawbacks and expressed the hope that the current intervention would be sustained.

He gave the assurance that the Regional Coordinating Council would keep a critical eye on the use of the machinery to ensure that they were put to good use. GNA

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