The East Gonja District Assembly is cultivating one thousand (1000) acres of rice this year 2014 in line with the call by the President John Dramani Mahama on all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to explore the employment opportunities in the agricultural sector and also increase the production of food crops for local consumption and export.
So far, out of the 1000 acres the Assembly has ploughed close to 600 acres of the land and already engaged 250 out-grower farmers for the cultivation of the rice.
The District Chief Executive (DCE) for East Gonja, Mohammed Adam Lukman who inspected the ongoing land preparation by the farmers in the company of some key officials from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) announced that the Assembly together with its partners had submitted Value Chain proposals to the Ghana Commercial Agricultural Project (GCAP) and the Skill Development Fund to support the farmers in the rice cultivation.
He said that the Assembly had also had comprehensive discussions with MASLOC to also support the farmers with 10 brand new tractors and also empower the women in the processing and marketing of the rice.
Mr. Adam Lukman noted that the steps being taken by the Assembly were to among other things address the widening unemployment among the youth in the district, increase local economic and also boost food security in the country.
He said that the Assembly had already signed Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) with the East Gonja District School Feeding Programme to feed school children, the Salaga Senior High School, Salaga TI Amadiya, Kpembe Health Assistants Training School, Prisons Service, Salaga Government Hospital and the hospitality industries in the districts and other surrounding districts to patronize the produce.
|DCE for East Gonja surrounded by people|
All 1000 acre rice he said would processed in Salaga by the obsolete Katanga Rice Mill in order to create more jobs for the youth.
The East Gonja District Assembly is now rehabilitating the facility and installing new rice processing machines to start operation on commercial scale.
Mr. Adam Lukman projected that with the kid of technical support the project was expected to receive, the farmers could harvest not less than 25 or 30 bags of jasmine rice on every one acre.
The East Gonja District is noted for its high rice production since time immemorial and already has four (4) well developed rice valleys established by MoFA under the Rice Sector Support Programme.
The DCE mentioned that serious efforts had been made by the assembly to supply the farmers on the project with the adequate seeds for planting, fertilizers and other inputs necessary for successful farming.
Mr. Adam Lukman who prayed for adequate rains this year, said that the rice project was designed with the right value chain approach to ensure the farmers benefit from their labour.
He hinted that MASLOC was partnering the East Gonja District Assembly to renovate three (3) abandoned storage facilities in the district (one at Katanga and two in Salaga) and therefore encouraged other farmers to invest more in the rice business and take advantage of the ready market.
He said that the Assembly was also targeting to supply rice to the neighbouring districts specifically Nanumba North, Nanumba South and Wulensi Districts to feed school children under the School Feeding Programme.
According to the DCE, the East Gonja District had over 6000 acres of fertile land for the cultivation of rice and maize and that the assembly was exploring the various opportunities to utilize all the 6000 acres of the land to make the district one of the leading producers of rice in Ghana.