Ho, April 7, GNA - Spring Agro Industries Limited and the Central Tongu District Assembly are prospecting for rice out-growers in the area to shore up the capacity of its target in the production of the commodity for the local market.
Mr Pankaj Mohindroo, Chairman, Spring Agro Industries Limited, who disclosed this during a courtesy call on Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, Volta Regional Minister in Ho said the strategy was to meet its capacity.
He said the Company had a storage capacity of 15,000 tons and currently cultivating 2,000 tons of rice, hence the need to diversify cultivation to meet local and foreign demand.
He said the parties were drawing in farmers from adjoining district, who were willing to cultivate the commodity without price-tags for the land but demanding planting seedlings and chemicals to produce.
Mr Mohindroo said Ghana could have self-sufficiency in rice production because the land and the technology were available and the expertise of India was ready at hand to achieve the venture.
He said “the rice economy should be a win-win game.”
Mr Thomas Moore Zonyra, Central Tongu District Chief Executive said 1,200 acres of rice had been cultivated with additional 2,000 acres in the process of cultivation of the commodity and collaborating with out-growers in the district to shore up production.
He said some 80 out-growers had registered for the programme already but the Assembly had targeted 1,800 farmers to participate.
He said the farmers were using their own lands without any monetary demands but elated to join in the production of the commodity to meet the increasing demand for local rice to avoid shortages.
Mr Zonyra said the Assembly was collaborating with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) to manage the expectations of the out-grower sector and had plans to take advantage of waterlogged areas of the District to produce paddy for the local market.
Dr Letsa, on his part commended the management of Spring Agro Industries Limited for its decision to invest in the region and promised the Regional Coordinating Council’s support towards making the venture a win-win situation.
He appealed to the partners to consider incorporating or to rope in more out-growers from the adjoining Districts to up production and meet the targets of 15,000 tons of rice in the short to medium term.
Dr Letsa has extended an invitation to Spring Agro Industries to showcase their expertise in rice production at the fifth Volta fair 2021 slated for November, this year.
He said land insecurity continued to be an albatross for investment in the region as some Chinese investors had to relocate for multiple claimants to agro- lands for production.
“We missed a glorious opportunity to create wealth and job avenues for our people due the land phenomenon, I’m urging our people to be decorous, when it comes to land and investments, so we can also benefit from investors.”
The Minister said programmes to stop the importation of rice by 2024 was a possibility as Nigeria had surmounted this difficulty, “why can’t Ghana follow through.”
He said the Ghana-Indian Relations could be exploited to better the lots of the two countries.
Mr William Dzamefe, Regional Director of MOFA told the Ghana News Agency the region has produced 4.7 metric tons of rice/hectare as a regional average per annum with the figure not changing over the last three years.
He said the region had a comparative advantage over the production of rice and appealed to investors to take advantage.
He expressed disquiet over the variety of rice provided under the Planting for Food and Jobs policy, which he said had a problem with quality.