Dr George Acheampong, Southern Zone Coordinator, System of Rice Intensification (SRI) on Thursday appealed to government to provide power tillers to rice farmers.
He said rice had become a cash crop for the country and farmers could not continue to use hoes and cutlasses for its production.
Dr. Acheampong made the appeal at a sensitization session for 120 farmers in the Volta Region on SRI project at Akrofu, near Ho.
SRI simply means practices in rice production that enhances crop production and yields.
The practices include using moist soil and not ponding, early transplanting, enough spacing, use of net and organic manure.
Dr Acheampong said about 75 per cent of rice in the country was produced by “resource limited” farmers and was hopeful the provision of power tillers for land development could take them out of the poverty zone and improve the economy of the country.
“We have enough low land areas for rice production but our farmers cannot use hoes to develop them. We need to mechanize and government must come in here,” he said.
Dr. Acheampong cited the Kebi State in Nigeria, which provided 1,000 power tillers for its rice farmers, leading to the transformation of the local economy and urged government to consider that investment.
He also asked government to encourage poultry farmers to produce manure for rice farmers to reduce dependence on NPK fertilizer, which he said was not climate change friendly.
Mr Billy Anyomi Agbotse, a SRI farmer, described the system as climate smart and best option for low income farmers.
“I use fewer resources, yet get multiply yields,” he stated.
Farmers who visited the demonstration farm were impressed about the growth of the crops, and expressed interest in the system.