Rice farmers call for ppp to boost production

The Association of Rain-fed lowland rice farmers under the Ministry of food and Agriculture (MOFA), has called for increased capital injection through public-private partnership (PPP) to scale up the production of the local staple.
Mr Maxwell Adu – Opoku, the coordinator in charge of the sustainable rain-fed rice production project in the Ashanti Region, speaking on behalf of the Association told the Ghana News Agency that the sector supporting the lives of about 1,396 farmers and their dependents, could reduce the country’s rice import bills substantially.
“But farmers need to have access to consistent credit facilities and new technology to improve per hectare yield to make this happen” he added.
This he said could be done through public-private partnership (PPP) to attract young farmers to sustain and revamp the rice industry as the average 55-60 life expectancy of most of its farmers already in the 55 age bracket, threatens the survival of the industry.
Mr Adu-Opoku who was speaking in an interview at New Edubiase, stressed the need for intensive research, technology innovation and soft credit facilities to ensure the sustainability of the jobs of these farmers whose fate now hangs in a balance for lack of financial assistance.
“It is so sad that returns on investment for rice farmers was far better than any crop currently grown in Ghana, yet financial and other support to the sector was minimal”, he added.
The situation, he said, worsened with the indiscriminate sale of wetlands to illegal miners whiles Ghana’s food import bill for rice continued to rise with more than half of the population living in abject poverty in remote areas.
Mr Adu-poku warned that if this trend continued, the availability of food in Ghana in the near future will depend on imports making the country vulnerable to outcomes of external catastrophic events and shocks that negatively affects food production from external sources.
The sustainable rain-fed lowland rice production project was a bilateral technical cooperation jointly initiated by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) and other partners in 2009 with the objective to increase rice produce and profit margins of rice farmers in the Ashanti region.
However, he said, years of neglect without any continuous [G1] assistance from government, in the provision of equipment and credit facilities to sustain the operations of the rice farmers, had stalled the project.rice-famers

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