Business News of Sunday, 1 March 2015
Government would pay more attention to the development of the rice value chain for mass production of rice to reduce its imports, according to Mr. Fiifi Kwetey, Minister of Food and Agriculture.
He said the Ministry of Food and Agriculture was fully behind initiatives that aimed at developing the rice value chain and assured that all investors and communities involved in developing rice fields, especially the Nasia-Nabogo valley, would be given a fair deal.
Mr Kwetey said this in a speech read on his behalf during the Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project (GCAP) Investor Conference in Tamale.
The Investor Conference organized by the GCAP was meant to introduce to participants, the Nasia-Nabogo valley rain-fed rice production and opportunities available to whet investor interest in the project.
The government of Ghana secured a $100 million credit from the World Bank and a grant of $45 million from the USAID to implement the GCAP projects mainly in the Accra Plains and the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) zones for crop production scheduled to be completed over a five-year period.
Mr Kwetey said the investor conference marked a milestone in the work of GCAP, which had the opportunity to outdoor an innovative approach by establishing an Agricultural Growth Pole (AGP) in the SADA zone.
He said adoption of the growth pole strategy had the potential for accelerating economic growth and support social progress through efficient utilization of natural and agricultural resources in line with the potentials of SADA.
He said now that GCAP had selected one of the agricultural growth poles for attention there was the need for government to support to ensure that it served as development corridor that remained focused for developing the rice value chain.
Mr Alabi Bortey, the Project Co-ordinator of GCAP said, GCAP was currently seeking investors to invest in commercial agriculture business in rice production on the 10,000 hectare arable land at the Nasia-Nabogo valley in the Savelugu/Nanton Municipality of the Northern Region.
He said strong emphasis would be on the involvement of farmers from neighbouring communities within the Nasia-Nabogo valley and assured investors who wish to cultivate rice within the GCAP demarcated area in the Nasia-Nabogo valley area of support through a matching grant scheme based on eligibility criteria.
Mr Bortey said GCAP would support investors with the construction of water retention structures to ensure availability of water throughout the cropping season and that the investors would be expected to integrate smallholder farmers into the inputs, outputs and farm equipment services on a continual basis for at least five years.
He announced that the project was also inviting contractors wishing to bid for the design and construction of the irrigation infrastructure to be constructed and called on all to support the project to succeed, saying, “Let us together create an environment that would increase rice production and productivity”.