The government has been urged to adopt improved rice varieties developed by the Crops Research Institute (CRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for its signature “Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ)” programme.
Dr. Paul Kofi Dartey, a Research Scientist at the Institute, said these varieties were high-yielding, disease-resistant and of high nutritional value.
They were developed under Korea-Africa Food and Agriculture Cooperation Initiative (KAFACI).
Dr. Dartey, who is the Principal Investigator for the KAFACI, said it was important to encourage Ghanaians to plant and eat high quality rice, which had been developed locally.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the sidelines of a workshop at Fumesua in the Ejisu Municipality, he said, that was the way forward to achieve food security and boost farmers’ income.
It is estimated that the nation imports rice in excess of US$300 million annually.
The two-day workshop was organized by the KAFACI and was dubbed “Enhancement of national agricultural extension services (ENAES) phase two”.
On hand to participate were agricultural researchers and scientists from Ghana, Gabon, Ethiopia, Malawi, Senegal and Zimbabwe.
The goal was to discuss appropriate ways of disseminating quality rice varieties unto the market to reduce rice importation.
Dr. Dartey, earlier, presenting an overview of the project, said it had established three demonstration fields in three districts – Kadjebi, Biakoye and Hohoe.
Some small-holder farmer groups from Jasikan and Hohoe had requested to be supplied with the seed varieties after being introduced to the project.
He added that 23 farmers belonging to the “Dzidefo Farmers’ Group” had also tested three of the rice varieties – test-milled at the Food Research Institute.
Dr. Kim Jeong Jun, Executive-Secretary of the KAFACI, pledged the unwavering commitment of the South Korean government towards assisting Ghana to improve her agriculture through research and technology.
He said the project would expose farmers to improved rice varieties to increase yield and incomes.