The President of the Dankook Institute for International Cooperation on Agriculture (DICA), Professor Lee Dong-Jin, has lauded the potential of the Central Region to contribute towards increasing rice production capacity in the country.
He stated that the climate and soil conditions in the region were suitable for rice production, saying, “The transfer of Korea’s Advance rice production technology is expected to increase productivity, by about two times more”.
Prof. Lee was speaking in an interview with the Ghanaian Times after a trainer-of-trainers workshop for regional and district agricultural extension officers on the Rice Value Chain (RVC) Improvement Project.
The Rice Value Chain (RVC) Improvement Project is a four-year bilateral cooperation between South Korea and Ghana, to strengthen and build the capacity of smaller rice farmers in the Central Region.
An amount of $8 million had been provided by the South Korean government for the project, which districts, namely; Gomoa East, Assin Fosu, Assin North, Assin South and Twifo Atti-Morkwa benefitting.
Prof. Lee explained that, the capacity building would ensure the adoption of rice production skills by farmers in the region.
The technology, he explained, comprised high-quality of seed production, seed nursing, pests and diseases control, post-harvest management, marketing and branding technology among others.
Prof. Lee indicated that, the goal of the project was to improve the quality of life of farmers in the region and the country in general.
He noted that the purpose of visiting the country was to assess the implementation of the rice value chain improvement project being managed by DICA on behalf of KOICA.
Additionally, Prof. Lee said he observed how the capacity building programmes and other support being provided could increase rice production in the area.
“As the PMC selected by KOICA, DICA will do its best to increase the income of farmers through improved rice productivity in the Central Region with a sense of responsibility,” Prof. Lee stated.
He said that two trainer-of-trainers programmes have been organised for 41 agricultural officers at the district and regional levels on improving rice cultivation technology.
“The officers have been trained on improved rice cultivation methods by Korean experts. Some of the training topics are proper land preparation for rice cultivation, rice morphology and growth, seed production, pests and diseases management, post-harvest rice technology, and rice marketing among others,” he said.
Prof. Lee said that: “As president of DICA, my expectation is that the officers will apply the expert knowledge received to support farmers in the improved methods of rice cultivation”.
He was optimistic that the rice value chain project would lead to increased rice productivity among the farmers and increase their income.
Prof. Lee indicated that 324 farmers in the Central Region had been trained on improved rice cultivation technology and 514 farmers have received high-quality AGRARice Seed from the project.
FROM DAVID O. YARBOI-TETTEH, CAPE COAST