An emergency rice data system project on the collection of data on rice production in the country was launched by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) in Accra on Tuesday.
The project, which spans from July 2009 to March 2010 and sponsored by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) under a 54,000-dollar budget with technical support from Africa Rice Centre, is being replicated in 20 other countries in sub-Sahara Africa.
Mr. Joseph Kwasi Boamah, Chief Director of MOFA, said the data would include varieties of rice being produced, areas of cultivation and yields as well as targets for production and organizations involved in the production.
He said the project was in line with the ministry’s programme to register farmers to collate basic information on farm households.
Mr. Boamah said with scarce information or data on agriculture which had led to relaying on “estimates” for national planning, it was necessary such a project was undertaken to ensure accurate production levels.
Mr. Alexander Nimo Wiredu, Economist, Centre for Scientific and Industry Research/Savanah Agriculture Research Institute, said the data system sought to generate information on varieties of rice production and ecologies of rice in the country to guide policy formulation for impact assessment.
“The objectives of Emergency Rice Initiative Project is highly relevant and part of an overall plan to arrest the burden of rice import which cost the state over 100 million dollars annually,” he said.
Mr. Wiredu appealed to government to provide combine harvesters to farmers in the Northern Region for rice production in anticipation of a bumper harvest due to free seeds supplied to farmers by the Government.
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