East Gonja farmers hail JICA rice project

farmerFarmers in the East Gonja District of the Northern Region have hailed the sustainable development of rain-fed production project of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) being implemented in the area.

Twenty-two groups from 22 communities in the district took taking part in the project, which started in 2009 with the aim of increasing quality rice yield.

Alhaji Amidu Mahamah, 50, a father of 16 children told GNA at the sidelines of a farmer’s field day held in Salaga that, through the project he had harvested 28 bags of paddy rice from an acre of land.

He said the achievement would spur him on to increase rice acreage in the next farming season and encouraged other farmers to adhere to the best practices and techniques the project offered.

“Before the project, I farmed 10 acres and harvested 30 bags but now I know that if I cultivate two acres and follow the best practices  such as using certified seeds, weed control and fertilizer application, I can harvest 50 bags”, he said.

Mr. Ahmed Tijani, schedule officer of the sustainable development of rain-fed production project said, the initiative had many components including a farming support system, which links farmers to credit, fertilizer and other value chain actors to liaise effectively for positive results.

Mr. Tijani said the project had educated and introduced farmers to various techniques and that farmers’ adoption had been impressive and expressed the hope that the impact would be greater if farmers sustained the efforts.

He said the project, which would end in a year’s time had developed rice extension plans in the target districts in close coordination with district assemblies, putting emphasis on farming technology exchange and improving services.

Mohammed Aminu Lukumanu, District Chief Executive (DCE) of East Gonja District, said rice had become a major food security and staple crop in Ghana due to the changing preference of taste of consumers.

He said it was regrettable that the country’s rice production levels declined in the 1980s compelling the government to astronomically increase the importation of rice.

Mr. Lukumanu said rice harvesting remained a challenge in the area due to its labour intensive nature and called on development partners to support the district with harvesting equipment, especially combine harvesters to encourage farmers to produce more rice.


Mr. Shota Katafuchi, a rice expert at JICA advised farmers to work hard to sustain the project and boost rice production in the region.

“This is a good opportunity for farmers to learn and implement the knowledge gained to increase rice yield and quality to improve the living standards of the people,” he added.


Source: GNA

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