The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in collaboration with Ministry of Food and Agriculture has held a three-day training for 25 farmer leaders on improving rice production capacities of farmers in the Central Region
The programme formed part of the rice value chain improvement project, 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 five districts, namely; Gomoa East, Assin Foso, Assin North, Assin South and Twifo Atti-Morkwa under the project.
The workshop sought to improve rice processing and packaging, increase rice production, strengthen the Farmer-Based Organisation (FBO) capacity in branding and marketing, and strengthen post-harvest management capacity and to increase farmer income by 15%.
Participants drawn from the beneficiary districts, were taken through practical handling of machines and equipment meant for rice production. They were expected to also train members of their farmer groups.
The Central Regional Director of Agriculture, Dr Peter Omega, in an address at the closing ceremony, encouraged the participants to put into practice whatever they learnt during the training period to benefit individual rice farmers within their district.
He noted that 52 tractor operators were trained last year to assist farmers to expand their farms, adding that the 25 trained at the workshop would facilitate rice production.
“Last year, we were able to cultivate 10,800 acres of land for farming purposes the number increased to 10,965 acres of land in 2022 and this workshop is going to enhance rice production”, he said.
He underscored the need for the farmers to ensure regular maintenance and repairs of the machines and equipment, saying, “We are to note that we are holding the machines in trust of our rice farmers to improve their Livelihood”.
He, therefore, appealed for the provision of additional farming machines and equipment to boost rice production in the five beneficiary districts and the region in general.
The Project Manager of KOICA, Dr Chung Haegun, in an address, reiterated the commitment of his organisation towards supporting initiatives aimed at increasing rice production in the Central Region.
The adoption of mechanised farming technique, he indicated, would boost rice production in the Central Region and Ghana as a whole.
The Manager of Benda Services Group, one of the implementing partners, Benjamin Edusah, in his remarks noted that the skills acquired by the participants would ensure the proper operations and handling of the machines.
Responding, team leader for the trainees, Prince Opoku, expressed his appreciation to KOICA and Benda Services Group for updating their skills with regard to the use of rice farming equipment during the training.
Certificate of participation were awarded to the participants.
FROM DAVID O. YARBOI-TETTEH, WINNEBA