The end of the drudgery of paddy field work is in sight for rice farmers in the central region, as the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) handed over the machinery support component of the rice chain improvement project. Value of Rice (RVCI) at a ceremony in Okyereko last Thursday.
The machines include two tractors, 10 rice combines, 10 rice threshers, 18 tillers and attachments, 18 rice winnowers and 30 water pumps to improve irrigation on farms.
Other items are mini combine harvester, laser leveler, knapsack sprayers and motorized foggers, transplanter, seeder and seedling planter.
It is expected that the equipment and machinery will facilitate the laborious work of rice cultivation for farmers in the five beneficiary districts of the RVCI project.
Okyereko farmers also received their share of AGRA-certified improved rice seed for planting.
The farmers’ excitement was palpable.
Women farmers jumped, others danced and waved clothes enthusiastically as the machines were symbolically handed over to the farmers’ organization to mark the handing over of equipment to the five districts working under the RVCI project in the region.
Maame Adwoa Arkoh is one of the farmers who have danced the most on the move, and she told the Daily Graphic that she had dreamed of the day when work would be made easier by improved technology for so long and that she was happy. to see it become a reality.
“I’m not as old as I look. It was the hard menial farm work that took its toll on me,” she said.
Maame Arkoh, who is only 25, said she has grown rice in Okyereko over the years with almost all stages of production, from farm to table, done manually.
“Usually you can’t do it alone and you have to hire laborers to help you. Harvesting an acre of rice can take three days with four people working there.
“Then a few more days for picking and a few more days for threshing and drying. It’s hard work when done manually and these machines take a lot of the work out of it and that’s why I dance,” she enthused.
Maame Abena Akua Yaaba, Akua Sesima, Adwoa Badua, Araba Entsie and Abena Atta, all rice farmers, expressed their joy and gratitude for the project and the machines.
“We can do more with the machines here because at the moment we don’t have any problems with what we produce. Buyers come from Kumasi, Takoradi, Ashaiman and Swedru to buy the rice and the machine can help us do more,” she said.
Rice farmer organizations in Okyereko have also expressed their joy that the support in the machines has become a reality.
Okyereko Farming Organization President Albert Nii Tackie said he was grateful that farmers were moving from where they used their hands to plant and harvest to a mechanized form of farming with machinery and the equipment.
KOICA Deputy Country Manager Oh Seungmin ?????, for his part, said it is clear that rice farmers in the region are committed to transforming the rice industry through hard work, to achieve the self-sufficiency in rice production for the countryside.
He said the provision of agricultural equipment, which is a key part of the RVCI project, was important as it would promote the government’s mechanization campaign and thus improve production and productivity, while limiting the drudgery associated with manual rice cultivation. and rudimentary.
“These machines will serve as valuable assets to our beneficiary farmers to boost rice production with the potential to positively impact the lives and livelihoods of these farmers at the micro level. Likewise, we expect a multiplier effect and therefore to a positive impact on the macroeconomy, given the value of improving rice production and productivity,” Mr. Seungmin said.
Increase in rice consumption
The Chief Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Robert Patrick Ankobiah, said in his address that the change in urbanization and changes in the tastes of Ghanaians have led to an increase in the consumption of rice, which had in fact widened the gap between local production and consumption. .
The effect, he said, was an increase in rice imports with the country’s scarce foreign exchange and said MOFA would continue to monitor and support the project to ensure it had the impact. necessary, in particular to help bridge the gap between local production and consumption.
In his remarks made available to the press, Korea’s Ambassador to Ghana, Lim Jung-Taek, said RVCI in the central region was of great importance, considering that the value of rice could not be overrated in terms of food. security in Ghana.
Reduction of imports
He said that as rice was Ghana’s sixth most imported commodity, registering over $1 billion in imports from 2017 to 2020, the project was crucial and pledged Korea’s support to his success.
Ifeoma Esther Charles-Monwuba, country director of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), which is in charge of the acquisition of infrastructure and agricultural equipment for the project, said that the The Assin Akropong Rice Mill, which was also part of the project, was approximately 80% complete and committed to ensuring the success of the program.
The Chief Director of the Central Regional Coordinating Council (CRCC), Kingsley Agyei Boahen, pointed out that the region has great potential to impact food production and food security in the country.