Tono (U/E), March 19, GNA- Mr Phanuel Akoto, Project Extension Officer of the Tano Irrigation Project in the Upper East Region has said that rice production can see a major boost if government and international development organizations invest in building and rehabilitating irrigation dams in the country.
He said the move could provide employment opportunities for the youth to reduce poverty in the country, especially in the three Northern regions, and ensure sustainable food supply.
Mr Akoto was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on Tuesday during a working visit to the Tono irrigation facility by a group of participants attending a four-day agricultural communication programme.
The visit formed part of a rice write-shop which brought together officials of the African Soil Health Consortium (ASHA) based in Kenya, farmers, researchers, selected Journalists, representatives of the Ghana Agriculture Association’s Business and Information Center (GAABIC).
Participants at the four-day meeting are expected to identify and develop effective communication strategy to inform farmers on the Agriculture Value Chain Mentorship Project (AVCMP) which aim at complementing government efforts towards achieving food security.
The AVCMP is being implemented by the Savanna Agriculture Research Institute (SARI), the International Fertilizer Development Center and GAABIC.
Mr Akoto noted that due to the effects of climate change the region had been recording dwindling rains and could no longer depend on rain fed-agriculture.
“For instance during the peak season which is the dry season farmers here are able to produce 4 tons of rice per acre, vegetables and fruits”, he said.
Mr Akoto appealed to government to build the road network within the dam and its catchment area to enable farmers to convey produce from the farms to the storage silos and to the market centres.
Some of the farmers who spoke to the GNA also called on government to support them with agricultural machinery including combine harvesters and tractors.
Ms Mary Kwarapuri, a 51-year-old rice farmer appealed to SARI to develop improved rice seeds to boost production.