Dr Michael Azebeokhai Nasamu, the Regional Consultant for the Coalition for African Development (CARD) has appealed to the government to create an enabling environment for small-scale farmers to strive in the rice sector.
He said government needed to implement well-informed policies and adapt to holistic strategic plans that would create the enabling environment for small-scale farmers in rice the production sector to ensure adequate food security in the country.
“In as much as we target the commercial farmers, we must not neglect the local farmers who need more help and support to increase their productivity” he said.
Dr Nasamu said this on Wednesday at a three-day workshop held in Tamale aimed at developing investment plan for the thematic areas in the National Rice Development Strategy (NRDS).
The NRDS thematic areas included; irrigation development, improved seed systems, fertilizer marketing and distribution, research and technology dissemination, community mobilisation and credit management, post-harvest and marketing, as well as equipment access and maintenance.
The three-day workshop was organised by the Northern Development Authority (NDA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) with support from (USAID).
The workshop, which was on the theme: “Revamping the rice sector: A key strategy in the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) campaign” is to discuss the realistic short, medium and long-term implementation plan to enhance the socio-economic growth of the sector.
Dr Solomon Gyan Ansah, a Deputy Director at the directorate of Crop Services at (MoFA) said government would support small-scale farmers in the production of local rice to cut down the high bills of the importation of foreign rice.
He indicated that, under the PFJ initiative, government was equipping farmers with various technologies of improved seeds, improved fertilizers, agriculture extension services as well as ready market to absorb rice produced in the country.
Mr Sam Danse, Director of NDA in charge of Cooperate Affairs and Relationship Coordination said the rice sector under the PFJ would create jobs for the teeming youth, address food insecurity.
He said the three-day workshop would equip stakeholders with the requisite knowledge to come out with strategies targeted at the entire value chain of rice and implement interventions to raise funding to support the rice sector.
“We will continue to catalyse investment into the area; we will continue to coordinate current development and social initiatives to make local farmers have the best in going forward” he said.