Livelihoods of smallholder rice farmers to be improved

To better the lot of smallholder rice farmers and processors, Technoserve, an NGO with funding from the German Foreign Ministry and BMZ, is implementing the Competitive Africa Rice Initiative (CARI) project.

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wpid-rice-harvest-sacramento-valley.jpgThe project, also being funded by the Bill Gate Foundation, has as its goal to significantly improve the livelihoods of smallholder rice farmers in selected countries in the sub-region.

It would also increase the competitiveness of domestic rice supply to meet the increasing regional demand.

Mr Samuel Baba Adongo, the Executive Director of Technoserve, told the Ghana News Agency on the sidelines of the 2nd Ghana National Rice Festival, that the sector remained an untapped national resource with enormous potentials for solving the country’s food security needs.

He said, however, the sector was under-served and operating well below its maximum potential, hence the project.

Mr Adongo said a year into the project, the initiative was on course to turnaround the livelihoods of over 100, 000 rice farmers in four African countries, including Ghana.

The Executive Director said it was expected that it would improve the businesses of numerous rice processing firms and various players along the rice value chain.

The objective of the project includes increasing efficiency of local rice value chain and improving access to financial services for all value chain actors.

Mr Adongo said Ghana had the potential of meeting the country’s demand for rice and compete effectively in the internal market in terms of quality and taste.

“However, it requires a re-orientation of the local rice farmers, support in various stages of the value chain and advocacy initiative to produce quality rice,” he said.

He said these ideals motivated CARI’s actions to make crucial interventions in terms of training farmers in sustainable farming practices, giving them business education, and addressing access to finance and inputs.

He said the CARI Ghana project has within the last one year, approved grants of over one million euros to seven partners to be used to provide a wide range of interventions for smallholder rice farmers.

“CARI will generate GH₵150 million into the economy by the end of the project phase l by 2017,” he said.

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