About 3,000 rice farmers in the Ghana Northern Region have received support from SNV, a Netherlands Development Organisation, to produce preferred rice varieties in the country and to reduce high importation of the staple.
The project is expected to yield about 8,500 tonnes of Jasmine and Alliance for Green Revolution (AGRA) rice seeds to increase yields and meet the demands of consumers.
SNV has established 15 demonstration fields as part of efforts to achieve the targets; to enable farmers undergo training to transfer improved technology in rice production and adapt to the changing trends to produce quality, tasty, aromatic and stone-free rice for consumers.
The five-year project is dubbed ‘Consumer-Oriented Rice Production, Key to a Competitive Rice Industry’, and with its partners, the project is focused on business brokering between farmers and marketers of rice and other value chain actors to sustainably meet the rice needs of Ghana.
Zakaria Jalil, Project Manager SNV Local Rice Can Feed West Africa, pointed out that the system of Rice Intensification (SRI) has been a major set of principles and practices of technologies transferred in the project to increase yields, which the farmers have embraced to expand their agribusiness.
According to Jalil, over 70 per cent of the beneficiaries have adapted to two or more best practices in rice production, which has helped them to increase yield. The beneficiaries have also gained access to tractor services, fertilizers, seed and working capital, technologies in water and soil conservation with extension services, he said.
He urged stakeholders and others donor agencies to invest in the rice sector to scale up the project, adding that the SNV rice project is geared towards supporting the production and processing of high quality rice to feed the nation.