Mr. Kwasi Adu Gyan, the Bono East Regional Minister says rice cultivation in large quantities in the region has been identified as a viable means to empower the youth economically.
He said the government would absorb almost all the expenditure including land mechanization for the cultivation to encourage the unemployed youth to embark on, “such a lucrative venture” to get reliable means of income.
Mr Gyan who was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Techiman, said the nation’s 2022 budget had made provision for the production of agro-produce including rice cultivation.
According to him, the budget had provided for packages such as “You-Start and Obaatampa” to allow for farmers and young people who wish to engage in rice farming and other businesses to access standardized loans as initial capital, learning entrepreneurship, and access to market for their goods.
Mr. Gyan announced to give impetus to the rice cultivation and other business initiatives, the Bono East Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) had established the Bono East Regional Development Company (BERDEC), a business-oriented purpose-vehicle to operate as limited liability corporate organisation with development objectives.
As economic, business, and development wing of the RCC, the BERDEC would be expected to count on directives from the Regional House of Chiefs and the National Development Planning Commission as technical wings in its operations, he explained.
Mr. Gyan said the BERDEC would also work to bring investments and coordinate economic activities to make the region the preferred destination for agro-processing such as rice and to provide access market for the produce in the region.
The Regional Minister added, “about 50 professional farmers have been identified to serve as mentors for the youth and help them to develop in farming”.
He said more than 331 valleys covering over 44,588.8 hectres of land had been secured and the first phase of the production would target about 25,000 hectres of land to provide opportunities for professional rice farmers, identified and registered individual youth as well as institutions/organisations such as the Ghana Prison Service, National Service Secretariat and the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) to come on board.
Mr. Gyan further explained the move would also incubate about 3,000 youth with modern methods and best farming practices for the production of at least 5 tons of rice per hectre to give a total of 125,000 tons from 25,000 hectres of farm land to take care of 12 per cent of rice being imported into the country.
The Regional Minister announced under the Ghana Rice Production Improvement Project that, the Bono East Regional Directorate of Agriculture was partnering with Brazil and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to receive mechanization and capacity building support for farmers
He said that would greatly boost and propel the youth into rice production initiative into success.
Source: Ghana News Agency