The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has supported some 24,819 small-scale rice farmers in the Northern and Ashanti Regions to boost production.
The support included capacity training, technical assistance, resources and the provision of certified seeds, and aims to revamp domestic rice production in line with plans to make the country self-sufficient in the grain’s production.
The project is under the Sustainable Development of Rain-fed lowland rice productions Project Phase II (TNESUI II), within a bilateral technical cooperation implemented by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) and JICA from 2016 to 2021 to boost rice production in the country.
Also, rice extension guideline developed by TENSUI II incorporated into the national rice development policies were disseminated to farmers and MoFA.
During a field visit by the Japan Embassy team to the funded projects sites, led by the Head of Economic and Development Cooperation from the Japan Embassy in Ghana, Sonoda Shohei, it was observed that the initiative has made great impact.
The visit revealed that through the project, an average yield of 5.02 tonnes of rice was recorded in Ashanti Region and 3.47tonne/ha in the North, North-East and Savannah Regions. Average yields of farmers who applied the recommended techniques were increased by 116.3 percent; from 1.37tonne/ha to 2.96tonne/ha in the regions – with Ashanti increasing from 1.62tonne/ha in 2016 to 3.60tonne/ha in 2020, and the Northern sector recording 1.12tonne/ha in 2016 and 2.05tonne/ha in 2020.
In all, 35 MMDAs from the Northern and Ashanti Regions were provided with capacity training to develop district rice extension plans aimed at strengthening the capacity of MMDAs to carry out rice extension activities under the government of Ghana decentralised system.
Mr. Shohei was impressed with the project’s impact, and commended the beneficiaries and implementers for ensuring value for money.
“The government of Japan is committed toward assisting countries grow their economies to curb poverty rates,” he said.
Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at the Department of Agriculture, Dauda Abdul-Salam, noted that the support has helped train more extension officers to assist the numerous farmers in adhering to good agronomic practices.
“The project helped to salvage the plight of farmers to maximise yields, while for the processors massive job opportunities were created which benefitted mostly women and youth in the rural areas,” he said.
Memuntu Alhassan, a rice processor, said the project has helped to produce 100 bags per week to meet the high demand as well as easing the stress in processing rice.
Women out-growers were also trained to produce quality parboiled rice.
Source: Business and Financial Times