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FAO Supports Sustainable Increase in Rice Production and Productivity of Small and Medium Scale Farmers through a Public Private Partnership

Dr. Abebe, HaileGabriel, the FAO Representative to Ghana presenting a list of the items to the Regional Director of MoFA, Mr. Kofi Larbi
29/12/2015

29 December 2015, Aveyime - Rice has become the leading food security crop in most countries in Africa, whilst constituting a major part of the diet in many others. Consistent with its commitment to supporting efforts of partners towards ensuring food security, creation of decent rural employment and capacity building in good agricultural practices, FAO is providing technical assistance to Government of Ghana under the project “Enhancing Rice Production and Youth Employment in Ghana Using the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Approach”. The project aims at promoting youth employment and skills development, enhancing the use of improved technology by small holder farmers  for efficient rice production and marketing and increasing income levels of farmers.

With a view to  increasing local rice production and reduce imports, GOG envisioned a strategy  to empower and integrate small and medium scale farmers with commercial farmers through different modalities.  The strategy aims to enable the farmers to signficantly increase their productivity through benefitting from adoption of improved production technologies harnessed by  sustainable technology transfer and extension services. It is in this context that the Government  identified Prairie Volta Limited, a commercial rice farm as a partner and requested for FAO’s technical assistance to promote rice production through a PPP approach.

Prairie Volta Limited (PVL) is a Ghanaian agro-business company promoting social inclusive commercial farming, which combines innovative agricultural practices, ecological farming and social entrepreneurship to deliver high quality products, conserve the environment, promote sustainable lifestyle, create jobs and reduce poverty in rural communities. PVL owns 1,250 ha of land in the North Tongu District, Volta Region of which 710 ha is fully irrigated and currently under rice cultivation, mechanized equipment and a mill with the processing capacity of 60,000 tonne per year. They are focussed in production, processing and marketing of perfumed rice, with  the jasmine and sierra/basmati rice as main varieties which are sold locally under the Volta Rice Brand.

The project has identified the potential of engaging 500 small holder farmers within the catchment area of North Tongu, 25 graduates (youths) to be trained in rice production and 10 Agricultural Extension Assistants. The graduates will undergo a 12 months residential intensive training in rice production with the possibility to be supported to venture into rice production on a medium scale.

 

The technical assistance to be provided by FAO covers the following:

 

  • Development      of a unique business model to strengthen and formalize institutional      arrangements between the stakeholders. This model will clearly identify      the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders as well as the      contractual arrangements.

 

  • Development      of training manuals for the training and capacity building of      beneficiaries in modern rice technology.

 

  • Training      and capacity building of 500 small holder farmers, 25 graduates and 10      Agricultural Extension Assistants in modern rice productions using the      ultra-modern facilities of PVL.

 

  • Provision      of IT equipment, safety gears, agricultural tools and inputs for the      training and to support the sustainability of the project.

 

As part of FAO’s contribution to the implementation of the project,  FAO made available some items to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture,  including  500 pieces each of Manual Knapsack Sprayers, Shovels, Rain Boots Rubber hand gloves, Chemical nose mask, Safety glasses, Cutlass, Rain coats, 5 sets of Desk top Computers, and a Laptop.

Dr. Abebe, HaileGabriel, the FAO Representative to Ghana in his address emphasised that “significant increase in rice productivity and production can only be achieved through improvements in production systems, and therefore  the production techniques farmers’ use must be enhanced.” He further commended the large number women farmers participating in the project saying “women’s contribution in agriculture is very crucial, which must  be encouraged in the context of improving the production systems.”

Dr. Abebe encouraged farmers to actively participate in this innovative PPP in a win-win situation  to enhance the rice value chain development, and reiterated FAO’s commitment to   provide technical support and advice throughout the duration of the project which is a period of two years.

On receiving the items, the Regional Director of MoFA, Mr. Kofi Larbi expressed his profound gratitude on behalf of the ministry and the farmers to FAO for its consistent support and commitment to the issues concerning food production.

 He moreover  encouraged the farmers to actively participate  in the activities as partners.  .

 The training and capacity building activities will kick start in the first quarter of 2016. Also the business model being developed for the project was presented to the technical committee and representatives of the farmers for their inputs and concerns to be incorporated and addressed. The business model will be finalized for validation by stakeholders by January 2016.