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Farmers To Adopt New Rice Planting Technology - Minister   
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Omar al-Bashir
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Ghana will soon adopt a new technology of rice planting which will boost the production of rice and reduce Ghana’s import of the staple food, the Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has revealed.

This new technology, known as the system of rice intensification, is different from the broadcasting system which is currently adopted by rice farmers in the country.

This, he stated would increase the “per hectare yield, from about 2.8 metric tonnes, which is the average that we do hear in Ghana when you’re doing the broadcasting to about 6.5 metric tonnes per hectare.”

He disclosed this to the media after a closed-door meeting with the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas in Accra yesterday.

Ghana currently imports about $1.5 billion worth of rice annually, a situation which has taken a toll on the strength of the local currency against its counterparts.

The meeting was therefore initiated to find out what the Ghanaian government was doing to ensure that Ghana becomes self-sufficient in the production of rice.

Dr. Akoto stressed that rice farmers would soon be encouraged to take their farming activities to the valleys around the country, as research has shown that such areas have the requisite environment to sustain large scale rice production. 

A move which he stressed would make Ghana self-sufficient in rice production and make it a net exporter of the commodity.

He regretted the inability of Ghanaian farmers to harness the natural endowment of valleys which the nation has been blessed with.

Dr. Chambas on his part said the issue of food sufficiency in Africa, particularly in Ghana, is dear to his heart that is why he is bringing in experts in rice production to help government train local farmers to increase productivity, efficiency and enhance their productivity.

This, he said, was consistent with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which seeks to target the poorer segment of populations to see how their productivity can be enhanced so that they can earn more income and attain greater prosperity.

He disclosed that his office would be working closely with the Ghana Rice Inter-professional Body (GRIB) to adopt these new technologies which have proven efficacious elsewhere.

Evans Sackey Teye of GRIB told reporters that this new technology of rice production would reduce the amount of seed which the farmer would have to use to harvest double the amount of rice he is currently getting from the broadcasting system.

He explained that with the system of rice intensification, the farmer would nest the rice seedlings, and would transplant them as is done for other plants like tomatoes and pepper. 

He was optimistic that once this is adopted by smallholder farmers, they would not need to get more land before they can at least double the yield of rice in Ghana.
Source: 3news

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