About 300 hectares (750 acres) of rice farms belonging to 250 farmers in the Fumbisi rice valley in the Builsa South District of the Upper East Region have been abandoned for lack chemicals to fight the infection by weeds known as “wild rice”.
The few farmers still in valley are using traditional methods of farming to uproot the wild rice tillers which is time consuming and capital intensive to hire labourers to undertake the exercise.
Many of the farmers, who expressed their frustrations to the Ghanaian Times during a field visit to the rice farms on Tuesday, stated that the
Government promised to provide them with farm inputs in the farming season, which encouraged most of them to expand their farms.
One of the farmers, Mr Moses Agontu, who stated
Mr Emmanuel Afoko, another farmer who told the Ghanaian Times that the weeds had the potential of reducing yields, appealed to the
Government to, as a matter of urgency, support the farmers to deal with the infection to avoid food insecurity.
The Builsa South District Director of Agriculture, Mr Sylvan Dauda Danaa,
The Upper East Regional Director of Agriculture, Mr Francis Ennor, said the wild rice infection is causing a lot of anxiety among rice farmers in the area and so assured farmers in general of better agricultural interventions
There are rice fields totalling 850 hectares (2125 acres) fully developed in nine valleys in the Builsa South District and each year, between 5.5 and 5.8 metric tons of rice is cultivated in the valleys by 894 rice farmers, including out-growers and their effort is above the national rice cultivation.
It would be recollected that last year there was huge rice glut in the rice valleys due to lack of ready market.
Other challenges confronting rice farmers at the valleys are lack of motorable roads to the rice fields and inadequate inputs such as
fertilizers and seeds.