Rice farmers in the Volta Region have called for technological support to increase yields towards meeting increasing local and international demands.
The farmers currently produce only 180,000 metric tonnes of paddy rice a year, the highest in the country, but half of their production capacity.
At a two-day workshop under the auspices of the United States Agency for International Development, “Feed the Future Agriculture Policy Support Project”, the farmers said they could produce more than 380,000 tonnes a year if they had combine harvesters, threshers and power tillers.
Investigations by the Ghana News Agency revealed that apart from a few farmers in the South of the region, who had those machinery, hundreds of other rice farmers were still relying on cutlass and hoe for land preparation and sickle and knife for harvesting.
The farmers said with technological support, they could produce and save the country of the about 500 million dollars spent on rice importation annually.
Dr. Joseph Ofori, a Research Fellow, Soil and Irrigation Research Centre, University of Ghana, said with efficient technological support, good nutrients and water management, the Region could achieve sustainable rice production.
Walter Nunez-Rodriguez, the Chief of Party of the Agriculture Policy Support Project (APSP), told the GNA that with improvement in technology Ghana could increase production, reduce import and enhance food security.
In all the 25 districts of the Region, except one, rice is cultivated in low lying areas and valleys.
Out of 281 valleys covering 40.093 hectares, only 26 are being developed, with potentials largely untapped.
The workshop was, thus, to strengthen the capacity of members of the Volta Rice Producers Network in appreciating the Agricultural policy process in Ghana.