Rice farmers in Kajebi in the Oti Region have been given some respite regarding the acquisition of agricultural machinery.
The farmers have been urged to make at least an initial half-payment of the total cost for agricultural machinery, including tractors and power-tillers they will need to boost production. Each of these machines cost between GH¢24,000 and GH¢31,000.
The relief package was announced by the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, on Tuesday, September 27, 2021, when he paid a working visit to rice farms in Kajebi and also interacted with the farmers.
The respite followed an appeal by rice farmers to the sector minister to be given the machinery on credit.
In addition to the half-payment, the minister asked the rice farmers to write a letter through the Kajebi District Director of Agriculture for the machines to be given to them on credit.
The visit formed part of the minister’s phase-two agricultural tour of farms in the Oti Region.
On the matter of fertiliser shortage, Dr Afriyie Akoto attributed this problem to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to him, most of the fertiliser producing factories have shut down due to COVID – which situation is affecting the global market for fertiliser, adding that “available fertilisers will not be given out on credit but on a cash and carry system”.
From the Kajebi rice farms, he went to the Volta Red Oil Palm Processing Mill, also in Kadjebi, where he inspected the process of milling palm oil.
The Director of Volta Red Oil Palm Processing Mill, Nicholas Kwame Foto, highlighted some of the challenges bedevilling his company.
Among these challenges, he said, is included intermittent power outages; hence he pleaded with the government to help remedy the situation.
The minister also paid a courtesy call on the Chief of Dambai, Nana Kwaku Biano II, together with his Council of Elders. The agric minister was accompanied by the Oti regional minister, Joshua Gmayenaam Makubu.
In the course of the meeting, the elders of Dambai laid out some issues affecting agriculture in the region. These included machines to help assist in crop harvest, especially for harvesting yams in large quantities in the region, they stated.
“We are also pleading with the district director of agriculture to organise a forum to help educate youth in the region, to let them know the new techniques that can be adopted to help improve agricultural yields in the region,” they appealed.
Early on Sunday Dr. Afriyie Akoto was in the Volta Region, where he visited the Global Agricultural Development Company (GADCO), a major rice-producing company in Sogakope; INVITRO Labs Free Zone Company, a Dutch company also in Sogakope; and inspected a tissue culture facility and nursery.