From Edmond Gyebi
Farmers in the Karaga District of the Northern Region, who are engaged in the ongoing government’s Block Farm Project aimed at producing rice, maize and soya bean, are likely to work in vain, as an estimated 2,000 acres of rice they have cultivated this year, are wasting away on the fields due to lack of combine harvesters in the area.
According to the farmers, their rice plantations were ready for harvesting, but they were finding it highly difficult to access combine harvester services.
The Karaga District, they noted, had only one small combine harvester, which was capable of only harvesting five acres a day.
Meanwhile, some of the farmers have cultivated between 300 and 700 acres of rice and maize, but the produce are being destroyed by cattle and birds.
The disappointed farmers made this known when the new District Chief Executive (DCE) for Karaga, Sulemana Hussein Issah, toured the Block Farm Project sites at Sadugu and interacted with the farmers.
It was discovered that some of the farmers had now engaged the services of hired labour to do the harvesting with sickles, which they said was much more expensive and time consuming.
One of the farmers, Mahama Ayamba, Chief Executive Officer of Dolba Farmers Group, expressed fear that a large quantity of the rice could go to waste, in view of the fact that he hired labour to harvest his 110-acre plantation.
Mr. Mahama Ayamba also complained about the road network leading to their plantations, which he said had contributed to their post harvest losses in the previous years.
He therefore, appealed to the government to support farmers in the area with combine harvesters and tractors, to enable them meet their objective of producing enough rice for domestic and export purposes.
Sulemana Hussein Issah said the government was aware of the difficulties they had been battling with, and assured them of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture working to find rapid solutions to their problems.
The Karaga DCE however, emphasised the need for the farmers to also invest in their children’s education.