Volta rice farmers lament bad seeds from agric ministry
They claimed the seeds were “contaminated” and could only be described as “grains”.
The farmers raised the issue at a governance meeting with rice-producing farmer-based organizations at Ho in the Volta Region.
The meeting was at the instance of Small Actions for Enterprise (SAFE-Ghana), a rice production-focused NGO.
The farmers said the “seeds” were mixed with different varieties, affecting yield quality.
Mr Billy Anyomi Agbotse, Chairman of the Volta Region Rice Producers Network, said that due to the poor seed quality, they lost potential yields and failed to attract good market in the year.
One rice farmer from Adaklu said clients complained of having different varieties of rice in their plates after cooking, some half-cooked.
Mr Patrick Avumegah, Team Leader, SAFE-Ghana described the situation as unfortunate and said his outfit was partnering 2SCALE Projects, an international organization, to train certified seed growers in the region to improve yield.
At a SAFE Ghana business forum, with support from USAID months ago, Mr Avumegah said research showed the region had the potential to grow rice to feed the country and was hopeful in five years, “rice will be Volta Region’s cocoa.”
He said his outfit had identified ready market for the cereal and challenged young people in the region to consider going into rice farming, promising technical support from SAFE Ghana.
Rice farmers in the Volta Region are currently performing below capacity and the region is currently cultivating only 10,000 hectares out of its 53,717 hectare capacity.
Last year, the Region was said to have produced 190,450 metric tonnes of quality jasmine 85 and other varieties of rice, including “Togo marshal”, all in high demand.
Ghana is said to spend around 400 million dollars on the importation of rice annually.