Plans are far advanced for the Bono East Region to become the rice capital of Ghana to reduce the national rice importation by 10 per cent, the Bono East Regional Minister, Mr Akwasi Adu Gyan, has disclosed.
The plans, he said, would involve the establishment of commercial block farms for the production of about 125,000 tonnes of rice annually. The project will target existing small holder farmers, organised youth groups, institutions and large-scale commercial farmers.
Speaking with the Ghanaian Times, in Techiman, on Monday about making the Bono Region a rice production hub, Mr Gyan said the project would also create 9,030 farm owners, 500 skilled and semi – skilled workers and 100,000 indirect jobs.
Mr Gyan was optimistic that the rice capitalisation initiative would assist 3,000 existing farmers and 30 large-scale farmers with machinery and technology, adding that the Prison Service would be enrolled in the project for their revolving farming activity.
He noted that it would further provide an avenue for resettling idle illegal miners and returnees from Libya and other Arabian countries and improve food security in the region and beyond.
“The Bono East region has 23,564 square kilometers of rich arable land, 308 rice valleys making a total of 32,000 hectors which can employ about 3,000 youth,” he added.
The Regional Minister indicated that more than 70 per cent of residents in the region were engaged in agriculture thus, his vision for improved farming and industrialisation in the area.
He said the vision had caught the attention of the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Afriyie Akoto Osei, saying that they had all pledged their commitment to its realisation, making it a national agenda.
“The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) visited the region last week for feasibility studies and assessment of support for the project. A Brazilian Agency (CIITA) has also expressed interest in the vision,” Mr Gyan noted.
The Regional Minister thanked the Bono East Development Company (BEDEC) for working as the commercial wing and the technical Secretariat of the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) to design, develop, implement and manage special economic development programmes in the region.
Mr Gyan reminded the Municipal and District Chief Executives in the Bono East region to exhibit the traits of accountability, selflessness, devotion to duty and the ability to deliver efficient services to improve on the well-being of their subjects.
FROM EMMANUEL ADU GYAMFI, TECHIMAN