The Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) has secured a $1 million World Bank grant to enhance local rice cultivation in the northern ecological zones of the country.
Dubbed the “System of Rice Intensification (SRI),” the three-year project seeks to train rice farmers on the correct rice farming practices to ensure higher yields. It is being implemented by SARI in collaboration with the West African Agricultural Productivity.
Programme (WAPP). It will be implemented in six regions, namely the Northern, Upper East, Volta, Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, and Kpong and Dahwenya in the Greater Accra Region.
The initiative was first developed in Madagascar to train rice farmers in good farming practices and resources to ensure higher yields in rice production.
Reduce rice imports
Speaking at the launch, the Monitoring and Evaluation officer at WAPP, Mr Augustine Oppong Dankwa, said the project was going to train the farmers in the best rice farming techniques including seed treatment, soil preparation and the right quantities of manure and water to use during cultivation.
He said also that the application of too much water and seed by some rice farmers was not good for most of the rice farms. He explained that the farmers would be taken through field demonstrations on how to manage the amount of water and seeds during cultivation.
SRI is cheap and time saving
Dr Dankwa urged the rice farmers to adopt the SRI initiative, since it as was effective, less tiresome and also helped the farmers to cultivate more rice from just little seeds.
The Research Co-ordinator at SARI, Dr Wilson Dogbe, for his part, said most of the problems the rice sector faced were due to the challenges of climate change in the country. He said although the rice sector had developed in the last 10 years, the country still produced only 30 per cent of rice, which he said was a very worrying state worrisome.
Dr Dogbe added that the institution was going to develop new technologies and approaches to enable farmers grow rice in healthy and drought-free environments to promote the sector.
Mr Amoah Duncan Raymond, a rice farmer in the Volta Region, in an interview, said the zone alone contributed 45 per cent of the rice produced in the region.
He said some of the land in the zone were not suitable for the production of rice, since they were very rocky and hilly.
By: Suweiba Yakubu
Date: Monday, 27 April 2015