Sunday, June 7, 2009

Project to boost rice production launched in Upper East Region

A farming project, known as "Emergency Initiative", which aims at boosting rice production in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions, has been launched at Denugu in the Garu-Tempane District of the Upper East Region. The project is being implemented by Africa Rice Centre, Catholic Relief Services, the International Centre for Soil Fertility, Agriculture Developmental Services (IFDC) and the Savannah Agriculture Research Institute (SARI).The initiative is targeting 10, 000 rice farmers in the three regions with 1,677 beneficiary farmers from the Upper East. Dr Stephen Nutsugah, Acting Director of SARI, noted that the United States Agency for International Development is funding the project, which is expected to cover a two- year period. The main objective of the project is to boost total domestic rice production in the country, by a total of 30,000 tonnes of paddy rice with a current market value of about 21 million dollars. It would also assist farmers to have easy access to certified rice seed and fertilizers through existing distribution channels, such as the private sector, government and non-governmental agencies and expand their knowledge on rice technology in order to increase production. Dr Nutsugah said the farmers had been divided into two categories known as the Viable and Vulnerable, explaining that the viable farmers would pay half of the prices of all farm inputs such as seeds and fertilizers, while the vulnerable farmers would be supplied with farming inputs free of charge.He said the farmers would be taken through intensive methods and technologies on the job training as well as video, radio and television broadcasts on rice production. Dr Wilson Dogbe, Senior Research Fellow IFDC said the project, was being implemented in the three Northern Regions with the view of addressing poverty in the area.The Deputy Co-ordinating Director of Garu-Tempane District, Mr. Abubakar Musah thanked the project organisers and said the District, which was one of the poorest in the Region would be assisted to reduce poverty.

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