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General News
Japan to help Ghana increase rice production 2/14/2007
Accra, Feb. 13, GNA - Japan is currently assisting Ghana to undertake a master plan study for the promotion of domestic rice to improve productivity and competitiveness in the agricultural sector. The plan, which covers all aspects from production to consumption, is to support Ghana''s increased self-sufficiency in rice production, Mr Yutaka Nakamura, Charg=E9 d''Affaires of the Japan Embassy in Ghana, announced on Tuesday.

He was handing over agricultural machinery procured under a Japanese government grant assistance to underprivileged farmers at a ceremony in Accra.

The machinery, purchased with the grant of 3.3 million dollars, comprises 50 tractors and accessories, 100 power tillers, 10 rice mills and 79 irrigation pumps.

They are to be sold to farmers on hire purchase in five regions - the three Northern Regions, Greater Accra and the Volta - for rice production.

A local agent has been appointed to offer after-sales service and support for the machinery.

The assistance is a response to request by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture for Japan to provide assistance to revamp the rice sector. Mr Nakamura commended government''s efforts in taking deliberate steps to achieve poverty reduction and accelerated growth through the modernisation of agriculture.

He said rice, which was the main target crop of the Japanese assistance, was one cereal that needed urgent attention to modernise its production.

Mr Nakamura said in spite of its importance as a staple, the rice industry in Ghana was heavily dependent on imports, thus stifling local drive.

He urged government to continue with the strengthening of her self-help efforts and pledged his country''s support to assist Ghana reach food security for her people.

"It is my hope that this assistance would support Ghana acquire and introduce more farm machinery into its agricultural activities so that it can improve its productivity and competitiveness in the agricultural sector," he added.

Mr Ernest Debrah who received the machinery said the sustenance of Ghana''s expected annual average growth rate of six per cent under Vision 2015, Ghana''s blueprint for socio-economic development, would not only call for the intensification of production methods, but the modernisation of agriculture as well.

He said government intended to improve the agricultural sector through mechanisation, input and extension to farmers. The Minister lauded the Japanese government''s assistance, saying it was most appropriate in Ghana''s mechanisation strategy for small, medium and large scale farmers.

He said in line with the assistance, the Agricultural Engineering Services Directorate of Ministry had constituted a team of engineers and technicians for training and the updating of technical skills of tractor operators.

The aim is to make all tractor operators more efficient in handling and operating machinery for improved performance and output. Mr Debrah said in view of the number of applicants wanting to purchase the machines, those who would benefit from the assistance should honour their payment terms on time to enable the Japanese government to sustain the programme so that their less fortunate colleagues could also benefit from later consignments.Source:

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