World Bank to support Ghana increase rice production
Vice President John Dramani Mahama, on Tuesday announced that the government was negotiating with the World Bank to support Ghanaian farmers to increase rice production.
He said when the agreement is sealed, the World Bank would support in the transportation of water from the lower Volta to irrigate arable rice farm lands in the Accra plains.
Vice President Mahama made the announcement when he inspected rice farms of Brazil Agro-Investment limited, a solely Brazilian organization, engaged in rice production in Dabala in the Volta Region.
The Vice President said prudent agricultural policies adopted a year ago by the NDC Government were yielding dividends as rice production had stepped up by 30 percent within a one-year period and hoped that it would further be increased to about 60 percent within the next two years.
He said the government annually spent about $500million dollars on the importation of rice alone.
Vice President Mahama said that with the new measures of providing tractors and irrigation facilities to organized farmers in the country, government could save about $300million dollars in the next three years.
He gave the assurance that government would continue to support all private initiatives that were geared towards the development of every Ghanaian in the country.
Mr. Leor Valer, Director of the rice company, said its initial 150-hectare rice farm was encouraging and hoped to increase the production to 480 hectares in the next few months in the Volta Region.
He said the company was targeting to cultivate 5000 hectares of rice in the next five years in the country and appealed to government to consider controlling the importation of rice into the country to boost local production.
Mr. Valer said the rice farms had created jobs for the people in the area as many of them were now engaged in sewing, fertilisation, fishing, harvesting, milling, packaging among other activities.
He said rice had become a major staple food for Ghanaians and called on the government to protect local rice production.