Government is set to establish two rice processing factories in the Builsa South District in the Upper East Region to create a ready market for rice produce and address post-harvest losses.
While one will be established at Fumbisi under the Rural Enterprise Programme funded by the Agriculture Development Bank (ADB), the other will be constructed by the Ministry of Agriculture at a yet to be identified location.
Rice farmers at the Fumbisi and Gbedembilisi valleys this year bemoaned a rice glut at the valleys as a result of a lack of ready market for their produce with some rotting away on the farms.
But speaking at the 35th Farmers’ Day celebration at Gbedembilisi, Bulisa South District Chief Executive, Mr. Daniel Gariba said, the intervention forms part of government permanent solution to addressing rice glut in the district.
“The District has been in the news for the reason that farmers operating in the Fumbisi rice valleys complained about the failure to get buyers for their produce due to excess rice harvested during this farming season.
To address this, a rice processing factory is to be established in Fumbisi to help add value to our products and when completed would be managed by youth groups with technical support from the Ministry of Trade and Industry. So far, consultants have assessed the site and recruitment processes of the youth to manage the factory carried out”.
“The Ministry of Food and Agriculture has also procured, for installation, another rice processing plant in the district which I have been instructed to identify a suitable location for the immediate setting out of the plant.
A lot of companies have also expressed interest in setting up rice processing plants in the area with the purpose of purchasing and processing our local rice for export”.
Mr. Gariba allayed the fears of farmers against any rice glut next year since the factories will be ready before the harvesting season to buy all their produce.
He hinted that about 1,000 more hectares will be developed to make the district a hub of rice production.
He added that government will continue to roll out interventions in the Agric sector to create more jobs for the youth and thus reduce youth unemployment in the country.
Builsa South District Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Sylvan Dauda Danaa said, the district oversubscribed government’s Planting for Food and Jobs program by 70% urging the youth to seize the opportunity to improve their livelihood.
He appealed that, chemicals for fighting Fall Army Worms should form part of the package of improved seeds and fertilizers for a swift control of the worms by farmers.
Mr. Danaa also appealed to government to employ more extension officers to augment the dwindling staff numbers of the department in the district.