The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has appealed to rice farmers to become more receptive of improved farming technologies to boost crop yield and returns.
Mr. Samuel Ankomah, Ahafo-Ano District Director of the MoFA, said they should heed technical advice and take advantage of the expertise of the agricultural extension officers to increase the production of rice, a staple diet in many Ghanaian homes.
He was speaking at a forum on the “Sustainable Rain-fed Lowland Rice Production Project” held at Tepa in the Ashanti Region.
The project is a collaborative effort by MoFA and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to raise production levels and profitability for better livelihoods.
Mr. Ankomah said they needed to shift from traditional cultivation practices to embrace new but simple and inexpensive techniques, as the nation made aggressive push towards food sufficiency and food security.
Ghana has enormous potential to produce enough to feed the population if farmers accepted to go by the new way of doing things – in terms of demarcation of rice field, pudding, bonding with water inlet and outlets, as well as leveling.
Mr. Ankomah said under the MoFA/JICA project, small-holder farmers in the area are being assisted to use simple farm tools, which were affordable.
They had also been introduced to a system of land development that had proven to be effective for weeds control, helped to significantly improve water holding capacity, efficient nutrient intake and fertilizer efficiency to support crop growth for optimum yield.
Added to these, are simple post-harvest tools including the use of the sickle, bambam box and tarpaulin to make sure that the paddy rice was of high quality.
Mr. Ankomah said within the last four years, per hectare yield of rice farms in the area had gone up from 2.2 tons to 5.5 tons due of the project.
Nana Adusei Atwenewaa Ampem, Omanhene of Tepa, thanked the Japanese Government for its technical support to the agricultural sector. GNA