Government should engage local rice farmers – NGO

riceMr Thomas Benarkuu, Project Officer of Mission of Hope Society, a non-governmental organisation, at the weekend called on government to engage local farmers to supply rice under the National School Feeding Programme (NSFP).

This, he said would not only help the farmers to access ready market for their produce and become economically sound to produce more but also enhance the nutritional value of meals prepared for the beneficiaries enjoying the NSFP.

Briefing the Ghana News Agency on a research he conducted on rice production in the Pru District of Brong-Ahafo Region, Mr Benarkuu, an Agriculturist said the Ministry of Food and Agriculture should intensify its extension services to rice farmers in the district.

He noted that 85 per cent of the rice farmers in the area could not access extension services as the few personnel could not cover the more that 7,000 rice farmers.

Mr Benarkuu observed that many of the rice farmers in the area are into large scale production but lack of ready market is a challenge as during bumper harvest retailers buy the produce at cheap price.

As a result of this most of the farmers had incurred huge debts while many of them had left production.

“The country can become self-sufficient in rice production by 2015 if farmers in the district area are supported with the needed farm inputs and equipments,” he said.

Mr Benarkuu said it is unfortunate the government currently spend about 450 million dollars annually on rice importation while the country’s rice imports had increased from 320,000 metric tonnes for the 2010/2011 to 330,000 metric tonnes in the 2011/2012 market year.

“This is due to increase in demand for rice and the shortfall in domestic production,” he added.

Mr Benarkuu noted that despite efforts by farmers in the district to sustain and boost local rice production, cost of production makes it impossible for them to compete with the imported ones.

Source: GNA

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.