The Member of Parliament (MP) for Akim Swedru in the Eastern Region Hon Kennedy Osei Nyarko is calling on government and the private sector to expand investment in mechanisation services for farmers if the country want to become self–sufficient in rice production.
He indicated that the only way to ensure Ghana rice becomes widely available to all Ghanaians is to ensure mechanisation tools are available to smallholder farmers who don’t have the capital to afford it.
“For Ghana to be able to meet its annual rice consumption we need to cultivate about 300,000 hectares that will be equivalent of (1,500,000 metric tons of paddy rice) of rice farms to be to meet our annual consumption of 1.2 million metric tons. We just need 300 commercial farmers that can do 1,000 hectares annually,” Hon Kennedy Osei Nyarko exclusively told Accra-based Original FM 91.9.
He added, “We don’t need 300,000 smallholder farmers to produce to meet our demands. We can deliberately give all the support these 300 large-scale farmers will need and we will never import rice into the country again. All that’s needed is support from government for these farmers.
“Rice is not like any other crop… Rice needs very even land that has been well prepared where the lumps are all broken down, and it is relatively flat. And that’s why rice is special and requires quite a bit of mechanisation, and it also needs water.”
The MP continued, “You need the tractors, threshers, and irrigation facilities. It’s very easy to buy a tractor. But what takes time is putting in place irrigation infrastructure and preparing the land so you can plant on it. He observed that land development for rice is expensive, and irrigation is expensive.”
According to him, “the private sector can be empowered to acquire mechanisation equipment like combine harvesters, tractors, tillers. But the government needs to pay attention to irrigation infrastructure. And there are issues with land development that government needs to take the lead on. Then the private sector can help with the milling, storage, and marketing.”
Source: Modern Ghana