The Japanese Government has handed over agricultural machinery worth GHC 6.4 million to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to be given to underprivileged farmers to increase food production.
The donation, which was made on Tuesday, is to be distributed among farmers on hire purchase, to boost rice production and make the country less dependent on rice importation.
Mr Naoto Nikai, Japanese Ambassador to Ghana said the agricultural machinery procured under the Japanese Government grant assistance, is to help revamp the rice sector in the country as well as build solid relations between the two countries.
Mr Naoto said the machinery comprises of 70 agricultural tractors, with matching implements, 43 power tillers, 35 rice threshers, 20 rice reapers and five rice mills.
He said this would support Ghana’s government effort to achieve poverty reduction and accelerate growth through modernisation of agriculture.
He said the machinery would increase rice production and help to attain self-sufficiency and ensure food security.
Mr Naoto said with more inputs readily accessible and affordable to farmers, farmer-based organisations would be strengthened to obtain higher leverage in the provision of public support in the agricultural sector.
Mr Clement Kofi Humado, Minister of Food and Agriculture, thanked the Japanese government for the grant assistance, adding that, this would enhance the agricultural transformation agenda of farmers.
Mr Humado said the agricultural machinery would make it possible for small holder farmers to achieve timely field cultivation, high level of field bed preparation, planting and harvesting which are important in rice production in order to achieve high yields.
He said the grant assistance facility extended to Ghana by the Japan government is important and welcomed since it would allow tractor owners and operators realise how economical it is to use such machines on a small and large land capacities.
He, however, urged the local agents of the machines to render satisfactory after sales services on the machines throughout the target regions and appealed to beneficiaries to honour their installment payments on time.
Mr Humado said the Ministry would ensure that the necessary inputs required for the high production levels are provided to these farmers, in order to make smallholder rice production profitable.