About 6,000 rice farmers in the Volta Region are currently undergoing training to become certified rice growers. This is aimed at developing rice agribusiness in the region and improving yields.
The training is organised by the Small Actions For Enterprise (SAFE-Ghana), a rice production focused non-governmental organization in Ho, in partnership with 2SCALE Projects.
The Volta region has recently been declared the leading producer of rice in Ghana by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, with production volume of 190,450 metric tonnes in 2014 alone.
Team leader at SAFE-Ghana, Patrick Avumegah, said the first phase of the project would see some selected seed grower beneficiaries in the region undergo training as coaches. They will in turn introduce other small holder rice farmers in the localities to new methods in rice cultivation.
Also, the West Africa Capacity Strengthening Coordinator of 2SCALE, Francois Dossouhoui, said, “the agribusiness cluster approach is designed to help rural smallholders move from subsistence farming to farming as a business and supply food for local, national, regional, and international markets”.
This was disclosed in a meeting with the first batch of trainees drawn from the Krachi, Nkwanta, Biakoye, Hohoe and Ho Rice farmers’ Clusters.
The 2SCALE project is the largest agribusiness incubator in Africa funded by the Dutch government, which has been working with farmers and entrepreneurs in 12 countries including Ghana, Benin, Mali and Nigeria.
The project develops and supports agribusiness clusters that link farmers to buyers, technical support providers, banks and other partners, helping them to access profitable markets for their crops.
Earlier in the week, reports had it that about 80 percent of rice farmers in the Volta Region, particularly those in the Jasikan and Afadzato- South Districts were at the verge of being pushed out of business due to lack of water for their crops.
According to the rice farmers, the Rice Sector Support Project, (RSSP) funded by Alliance Development De Francais of France to develop rice valleys across the country to enhance rice production, was not yielding the right results.
The first phase of the project began in 2009 and has ended and the second face started last year in the Volta Region.
The farmers lamented saying, the initiative which was intended to help farmers expand their scale of production was on the contrary adding up to their plight as they do not get enough water for cultivation.