Rice farmers at Fumbisi in the Builsa South District of the Upper East Region say they expect a bumper harvest if it continues to rain for the next two months.
The farmers said despite the outbreak of the COVID-19 global pandemic which massively affected the cost of production, they had benefited from seed and fertilizer under the Savannah Zone Agriculture Productivity Improvement Project (SAPIP).
The five-year project, which started in 2018 under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) was part of the government’s efforts to increase productivity in the agricultural sector, is being implemented in seven Districts in the agribusiness zone including; the Builsa South, Nanton, West Gonja, Savelugu, Tolon, Kumbungu and West Mamprusi Districts.
At a programme at Fumbisi to inaugurate the Builsa South Commercial Farmers Association, the farmers said the SAPIP initiative had boosted their production and stressed that “If God gives us good rainfall this year, we will have a bumper harvest.”
Mr Daniel Atulik Abayaskadina, the Secretary of the Builsa South Commercial Farmers Association said the SAPIP initiative was beneficial to them as they had easy access to fertilizer, unlike last year when they struggled to get it.
He said rice at in the valley looked green and was hopeful that with good weather conditions, they would get a bumper harvest.
Mr Richard Akuka, a rice farmer and member of the Builsa South Commercial Farmers Association, however, expressed worry that if after the bumper harvest there were no buyers for the rice as they experienced last year, it would affect them.
“We are appealing to all the millers to come and buy the rice. Our rice is one of the best in the country, people used to complain that our rice was full of stones, but that is a thing of the past, the rice quality is the best now.”
He explained that the rice was harvested directly into receivers and dried on thrashing floors without any contact with the sand or stones, and appealed to government and institutions such as Avnash Industries Ghana Limited to patronize their produce this year.
Mr Sylvan Dauda Danaa, the Builsa South District Director of MOFA, disclosed that about 1, 500 hectares of land space was cultivated for rice production last year.
“This year production has increased by 40 percent, we are already clocking around 2, 500 hectares. The District has a high potential for rice production and currently, we have nine valleys.”
He said out of the number of valleys, 866.4 hectares had been developed by the government while the rest were developed by individual farmers. “This year, the government has earmarked about 500 hectares to develop in the valleys and this will even increase our rice production next year.”
Mr Danaa said with the collaboration between government and the SAPIP, commercial farmers in the District were supported with about 3, 070 hectares of inputs for both fertilizers and seed.
“This is the reason why we have moved from the 1, 500 to 2, 500 hectares this year. Most of the farmers have doubled their production, they have expanded their lands and increased production this year,” he said.