Northern Region farmers benefit from rice project

The Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV), an international non-governmental organisation (NGO), has started a rice project to increase food security and incomes of smallholder farmers in four districts in the Northern Region.

The 540,000-Euro project will help put some 4,400 hectares under cultivation to produce 3,000 metric tonnes of paddy rice.

As part of the project, there will be the supply of appropriate agro-economic services for rice supply chains and enhanced public policies for improved investment in local rice development to improve the productivity of farms and local processors in the beneficiary areas.

In all, about 1,500 farmers and processors in the Kumbungu, Tolon, and Sagnarigu districts and the Tamale Metropolis are expected to benefit from the intervention.

According to the Project Manager, Mr Zakaria Jalil, the programme, dubbed, ‘Local rice farmers can feed West Africa’, is a multi-country project involving five African countries, namely Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Benin. 

The two-year project, that began early this year, is being funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr Jalil, who was speaking at a forum in Tamale, noted that although the country had recorded impressive growth through lowland and upland rain-fed and irrigated rice cropping systems, there still existed a deficit in rice production to meet the demands of consumers.

The meeting brought together farmers, processors, creditors, caterers and input dealers with the aim of linking them to productive resources and structured markets to ensure the patronage of home-grown farm produce for the school feeding programme.

The manager explained that the project would adopt a value chain development approach that placed emphasis on supporting leading firms in providing expanded market opportunities.

The SNV Advisor for Procurement Governance for Home Grown School Feeding Project (PGHGSFP) and the Purchase for Progress initiative by the World Food Programme (WFP), Madam Ernestine Sanogo, said the project would also facilitate the linkage of smallholder/low-income farmer-based organisations to structured market opportunities, including the SFP, to improve their incomes and livelihoods.

‘While the SNV rice project is fully focused on rice, there is a coincidence of interest among the three projects to improve food security and the incomes of smallholder farmers by linking them to productive resources and market opportunities with locally grown quality products,’ Madam Sonogo indicated.

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