A total of ten farmer-based organisations in the Tolon and Kumbungu district on Tuesday received ten new parboiling vessels used to process rice and ten moisture content testers.
The groups were also given 30 energy saving stoves and 10 storage facility with the capacity of 50 metric tonnes to help improve the livelihood of farmers.
The parboiling vessels were financed by the Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement Program (ADVANCE) and World Food Programm (WFP) while the rest of the facilities were funded by CIDA through Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative.
Mr William Boakye-Achampong Region Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, who handed over the items and equipment to the farmers, said rice was a food security and a political crop hence the government’s quest to introduce novelty ways of attracting farmers to grow more of it.
He assured international and local NGOs of government’s readiness to partner them to increase rice production in order to reduce rice importation.
Mr Boakye-Achampong appealed to the beneficiary farmers to ensure the judicious use of the equipment and the facilities.
Ms Catharine Phiri, Northern Ghana Project Director of ADVANCE, explained that the parboiling vessels would improve marketing efficiencies and product quality of the rice supply chain.
She said about 450 members of the groups would be trained by Food Research Institute on the proper handling of the equipment.
“The presentation of the vessels is timely as it will help the farmers have harvested crops to parboil and it will assist them to improve the quality of grains required by buyers,” she said.
Additionally, the 10 FBOs have received training in post-harvest handling, records keeping and budgeting, and FBO strengthening in order to manage their operations collectively.
The P4P seeks to support food market development based on sound commercial principles in order to strengthen capacity of small-scale farmers to increase production.
Mr Ismail Omer, WFP Country Director in a speech read on his behalf, said WFP and its partners would train the groups to effectively and efficiently manage the equipment and the other facilities to enable farmers generate income, reduce poverty, hunger and malnutrition.
Mr Omer said WFP would soon be buying rice from farmers in the region to feed about 150,000 pupils under the joint initiative being implanted by the WFP, Ghana School Feeing Programm and the Ghana Education Service.
Mr Iddrisu Alhassan Baba, Secretary of the Sorugu Tunteeya Association, who received the equipment on behalf of the group, thanked the donors for their support. GNA