RMG, a farmer based company operating in the Upper West Region has assured that it will produce enough maize to feed the country and possible export after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company launched ‘the feeding Ghana after COVID-19’ programme with subsidized fertilizer, hybrid seeds and weedicides to the over 42,000 smallholder farmers in the Sissala East and Sisssla West Districts registered under the Planting for Food and Jobs an initiative of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture since its inception in 2017.
The company gave the assurance when Dr Hafiz Bin Salih, the Upper West Regional Minister inspected the over 150,000 bags of fertilizer, seeds and weedicides at Tumu meant for farmers in the area.
The Regional Minister commended RMG for the grains programme saying, “I am impressed with what I have seen and from what I have observed, this region alone can meet the maize requirement of the country”, and called for the extension of their services to every part of the region”.
“For us, in the region, Agric is the game-changer, and those interested in agribusiness should take advantage of the honest and hardworking nature of the people to invest in the region”, he said.
Whilst praising RMG, the Minister called on other investor community to relocate to the area for investment since the region had hardworking and honest people”.
Dr Henry Somuah Anim, the technical advisor of RMG said “The subsidy programme by the government had led to the expansion of the native’s farms in acreage and size and improved the socio-economic wellbeing of the people.
“Since the government, through the sector Minister launched the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) in 2017, RMG Ghana took it upon itself to be a key partner of the programme with commercial partners and ensured increased production grains over the years, and we have been able to facilitate the production of maize not less than 50,000 acres on annual basis”, he said.
“In the process, we have put in structures to receive all the inputs that come from PFJ and ensure it gets into the hands of farmers and have also put in place structures to deal with the concern of government over diversion of PFJ inputs together with our commercial partners is to ensure these inputs get into the hands of the partner”, he said.
Dr Somuah Anim said in 2017, the programme was able to recover about 90 per cent of what government offered with its partners through its robust recovery programme and extended its appreciation to the government for making it possible to reach many farmers in the communities as possible with these subsidy inputs”.
A project officer of RMG, Mr Asare Bediako said RMG was a science-based farmer company, which do not just produce with improved seeds but work with their farmers through their technical and agronomic officers and indicated by promising government “in the midst of the COVID-19, there will be food on the table for Ghanaians and have, therefore, dubbed the year :“Feeding Ghana after COVID-19”.
Giving highlights of their operations, Mr Asare revealed “the programme which started in 2017 was designed to leverage on the Government’s flagship programme – Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) to supply high-quality agro-inputs to farmers through a model that offered hybrid seed, weedicides, insecticide, mechanization services and spraying machinery.
From 2018 under the youth in Agric programme, 42,000 acreages were cropped and this was increased to 58,000 in 2019 with a target of 65,000 planned across Ghana.
The Upper West Region alone will do 42,000 acres, which are expected to yield 750,000 bags of maize (40,000 metric tonnes) with 11,000 hands expected to be engaged as compared to 33,000 acres cropped in 2019 which gave them yields of 550,000 bags of maize as RMG intends to invest more in the grains value chain.
For the 2020/21 cropping season, RMG is projecting to cover a total of 60,000 acres of maize, 10,000 acres of rice and 5,000 acres of soya across the country.
Maize farmers confidence in Sissala has, therefore, been boosted with the commencement of the distribution of essential farm inputs to farmers in Sissala East and West to kick start the 2020 production cycle.