The District Chief Executive for Tolon, Fuseini Issifu Salifu Moshie has revealed that, the Ministry of Agriculture is working with the Brazilian government to secure some agricultural machines that will facilitate the modernization and mechanization of the Ghanaian agricultural sector.
According to him, the modernization and mechanization of the agricultural sector will attract the youth into the sector and limit import of farm produce into the country.
Speaking at a ceremony to hand over some 11 portable and easy to use rice harvesters to the Bela Nnabra rice farmer group in Tolon, the DCE said the production of rice needs to be increased at a significant rate to promote the Agenda Grow and Eat locally produced products to create more employment avenues and increase farmers’ income.
He cautioned the farmers to properly use the machines presented to them and ensure that they regularly maintain and service them, “so that the machines will not be beneficial to you only but also to other rice farmers in the community and district at large”.
The Modernizing Agriculture in Ghana (MAG) Program through the Canadian government supported the Bela Nnabra Rice Farmers Group with the 11 easy to use and portable rice harvesters to reduce drudgery in rice cultivation in the district.
The programme is a five-year CAD 135million initiative by the Canadian government for Ghana.
The Tolon District Director of Agriculture, Abukari Yakubu bemoaned the inability of smallholders’ rice producers to afford, acquire and access combine harvesters for harvesting of rice after production.
“Therefore, this single move by the MAG programme will result in increased production by the group members and others farmers as harvesting will be faster and easier now. The perennial problem of bush fires burning rice due to lack of harvesters will be reduced significantly” he stated.
Mr. Yakubu added that “this will ultimately improve household food, nutrition and income securities of beneficiaries and rice farmers”.
The MAG program evolved from FABS and SFASDEP to respond to the decentralization of Ghana’s agriculture sector implementation responsibilities to Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) taking into consideration lessons learned from the implementation of the earlier sector budget support programs.
Through the MAG Program, it is intended that conditional budget support and technical assistance will be provided to Ghana to respond to the objectives of Food and Agriculture Sector Development Policy (FASDEP), Medium Term Agriculture Sector investment program (METASIP) and the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA II).
It is designed to address productivity and value chain development management to add value to farmers’ produce for increased incomes.
The MAG Program focuses on demand driven research and alternative methods of extension delivery with the objective of increasing productivity through intensive farming. A robust and diverse extension delivery system will facilitate the dissemination of technologies to farm households, farmer-based organizations, out-growers of nucleus farms and others.