About 800 metric tons of rice seeds have been produced across the Rice Sector Support Programme (RSSP) regions for planting in the 2015 farming season, Dr Wilson Dogbe, Research Coordinator of RSSP has announced.
He said the available 800 metric tons of rice seeds would cover 16,000 hectares of rice fields, which would increase domestic rice production to meet the rising demand for rice in the country.
Dr Dogbe announced this at the 2015 Annual Rice Seed Stakeholders Meeting organised by the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR – SARI) at Nyankpala in the Northern Region.
The meeting brought together stakeholders from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), development partners including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), rice seed companies, input dealers, seed producers, researchers, and rice related projects among others.
It was to take stock of the rice seed situation in the four RSSP regions for this year, which included the Volta, Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions, and to plan the seed needs for 2016, as well as to identify the roles of the various actors in the rice seed value chain.
The RSSP is an initiative of MoFA to among others, support lowland rice production to improve livelihood of poor farmers in the targeted regions through the development of a sustainable economic activity based on the natural potential of the regions.
Dr Dogbe, who is also a Principal Research Scientist at SARI, said there are challenges of seed quality in terms of red rice, which must be addressed to improve the quality of the crop produced.
He mentioned some of the measures taken to reduce red rice levels in the seeds produced, which included reducing acreages to manageable levels, moving away from broadcasting of rice seed farms, and bonding of fields.
Dr Dogbe gave the assurance that rice produced by local farmers is of high quality and therefore urged consumers to purchase and consume locally produced rice.
Mr Raphael Dinku, Field Officer of GANORMAH, an input dealer, expressed the need for quality seeds to attract farmers to purchase them and to increase domestic rice production.