Four districts in the Upper West Region (UWR) which benefitted from a five-year rice sector support project have declared their readiness to participate in the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative which the government launched last month.
They are the Wa East, Wa West, Sissala East and Wa municipalities. The erstwhile Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund (EDAIF) funded a rice production project there from 2011 to 2016 at an estimated cost of €17.31 million.
The UWR Manager of the Rice Project, Mr Abu Huudu, who disclosed this to the media said already 28 rice lowlands covering 960.2 hectares had been cultivated by a total of 84 Farmer-Based Organisations (FBOs), comprising 1,387 members.
Mr Huudu said the farmers, who were equipped with modern techniques in farming to increase production, were pre-qualified to access the EDAIF from the Agriculture Development Bank (ADB).
Therefore, he said the FBOs that had already been trained would form the nucleus of the new food and jobs campaign, adding that the four districts in the UWR would focus on cultivating Jasmine and AGRA rice for which they had received training to handle.
Mr Huudu advised that for rice production to succeed under the new agricultural transformation project, farmers should be helped to deal with challenges such as the lack of basic equipment for sowing, harvesting and threshing their produce.
It should also have post-harvest infrastructure to maintain the prescribed moisture content to avoid breakage of the rice when milled, a situation he said led to low prices for their produce.