By William N-lanjerborr Jalulah
RICE FARMERS in the Gbedembilisi Valley, near Fumbisi in the Builsa District of the Upper East Region, may lose their crops which have matured, if nothing is done to bring in Crawler Combine Harvesters to harvest the crops.
The rice, which matured about four months ago, is still submerged in water, due to prolonged rains, and this is causing the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, and farmers, sleepless nights.
The plight of the farmers came to light when the Upper East Regional Minister, Mr. Mark Woyongo, visited the valley on Wednesday to get first hand information on the plight of the farmers, who are under the Block Farm System introduced by the government to encourage the youth to go into agriculture.
Briefing the Minister on the situation, Mr. Kuzie Allansah, Builsa, District Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, disclosed that the variety used for the season was jasmine rice, which he said, was a good variety.
He was hopeful that the farmers could harvest 10 bags of rice per acre.
Mr. Allansah lamented that the District Directorate of Agriculture was bedeviled with problems such as staffing and vehicles.
According to him, the staff strength of the directorate was nine, and the only vehicle available needs major maintenance.
He disclosed that a total of 708.6 hectares of rice was being cultivated in the Builsa District, under the Block Farm System.
Mr. Woyongo, in response, directed that an SOS message be sent to Accra to ensure that the crawler combine harvesters are brought in quickly to salvage the situation.
He appealed to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to increase the price for rice set by the Buffer Stock Company, since the current price was not motivating the farmers to increase production.