The Crop Research Institute (CRI) of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)will provide technical support and improved seeds to the Bono East commercial rice project.
Mr Kwasi Adu Gyan, the Bono East Regional Minister, visited the management and staff of CSIR – CRI on Tuesday at Fumesua in the Ashanti Region to seek their expertise towards the realisation of the region as the rice capital of Ghana.
According to the Minister, the Regional Co-ordinating Council (RCC) through the Bono East Development Company (BEDEC), a registered entity to spearhead the development agenda of the region, had completed the action plan for the rice project.
The Regional Minister noted, “Commercial production, packaging, and marketing of rice from the Bono East Region will kick start soon. The role of the CSIR-CRI is key to the realisation of our vision.”
Mr Gyan indicated that his visit to the CRI was part of measures put in place by BEDEC to ensure sustainability, improved quality and storage of rice produced.
The Regional Minister disclosed that the project would involve the establishment of commercial block farmsfor the production of about 125,000 tonnes of rice annually for the local and international markets.
“The focus of the rice capital project is to reduce national importation of rice by 10 per cent. This will save the country millions of cedis,” he emphasised.
Mr Gyan said the Bono East Region had 23,564 square kilometres of rich arable land, 308 rice valleys, making a total of 32,000 hectares and was expected to employ about 3,000 youth.
The Director-General of CSIR – CRI, Professor Moses Bradford Mochiah, commended Mr Gyan for embarking on such a massive development in agriculture in the Bono East Region, where 90 per cent of residents are farmers.
Prof. Mochiah assured that his outfit would provide improved seeds and technical backstopping on good agronomic practices and pest management for maize, cowpea, soya bean and rice.
“The CSIR has chalked successes in coming up with technologies in crop and animal production, agro-processing and value addition, building and construction, environmental management and industrial manufacturing,” he added.
The Director-General said his outfit was committed to ensuring food security in the country, saying that “we are at the forefront in the development and promotion of strategies for the production of non-traditional commodities”.
FROM EMMANUEL ADU GYAMFI, FUMESUA