More than 3,000 rice farmers and 700 processors in the Northern Region are being supported to produce consumer-preferred rice varieties to substitute imports this year.
Under the sponsorship of SNV, a Netherlands development organisation, the project is expected to yield 8,500 tonnes of Jasmine rice, this year equivalent to 102,000 bags. That will increase the incomes of farmers and other actors in the rice value chain to GH¢4million.
Last year, the project supported 1,400 local rice farmers and 600 processors in the six project districts in the Northern Region to produce 25,000 bags of consumer-preferred varieties, which yielded GH¢1.2million as income for the farmers and other actors in the rice value chain.
The project is being implemented in the Savelugu/Nanton Municipality, Tamale Metropolitan Area, Tolon, Kumbungu, Sagnarigu and part of the East Gonja District.
The SNV Rice Project Manager, Mr Zakaria Jalil, made this known to the Daily Graphic at a Farmers’ Field Day at Libga in the Savelugu/Nanton Municipality in the Northern Region last Saturday.
It had the theme: “Consumer-Oriented Rice Production, Key to a Competitive Rice Industry.”
According to Mr Jalil, the support was meant to strengthen the capacities of local rice farmers and processors to respond to the changing needs of consumers by offering them quality, tasty, aromatic and stone-free rice comparable to or even better than imported rice.
That, he explained, was part of the efforts to make Ghana self-sufficient in rice production.
“Rice has now become a staple food consumed by Ghanaians and remains on the menu charts of restaurants and food joints across the country. It is also served at social gatherings and events and in order to make local rice farmers and processors to compete with their counterparts globally, there was a need to build their capacities to produce to meet the demands of the market”, he stated.
Mr Jalil also said significant awareness had also been created on the need to consume the rice produced locally primarily because of its quality.
He appealed for support from all stakeholders to scale up the project to meet the country’s aspirations of reducing rice imports drastically. Some farmers and processors who shared their experiences expressed their appreciation to SNV for the support.
They said the introduction of new technologies and provision of improved seeds and good agronomic practices had increased their yields resulting in the increase in their incomes.