The Ricemaster, a Subsidiary of the Finatrade Group Companies, in collaboration with the USAID Ghana, has presented two equipment worth GH¢56, 061.40, to rice farmers at Hohoe Municipality, in the Volta Region.
The equipment which consists of Combined Rice Harvester (three in one) and the Automatic Seeder, which does transplanting, is aimed at developing a sustainable integrated system of rice production in the country. It is expected that the equipment will benefit about 804 rice farmers in the municipality.
Speaking at the ceremony, yesterday, the Group Chairman of Finatrade, Mr. Nabil E. Moukarzel, said a guaranteed market is being provided not only to rice farmers in the municipality, but to all rice farmers in the country, provided the quality meets the requirements of the Ghanaian consumer.
He stated that taking cognisance of the human resource deficiency in the agricultural sector, Finatrade, in February 2004, launched a Scholarship Scheme to promote the study of Agriculture in tertiary institutions especially among females.
The scheme, he said, has up to date supported 126 Bachelor of Science, and Agricultural students from the Universities of Development Studies, and Cape Coast, as well as the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and the University of Ghana, to complete their studies, adding that 20 are enrolled every year.
According to Mr. Moukarzel, beneficiaries are offered internship opportunities with Finatrade companies during their long vacations and over GH¢600,000 seed capital is provided for the scheme.
He noted that in January 2004, the Ricemaster collaborated with the Lowland Rice project in the Northern Region, and marketed over 2000 tonnes of pady rice from the project.
The Group Chairman indicated that the same year, the company supported farmers from the Botanga Irrigation project, Tamale and consequently secured their rice and marked.
He lamented that it is unfortunate that people who are closely involved in setting policies for Agriculture in Ghana, forget or even choose to overlook the contribution of Finatrade and the Ricemaster to rice production in the country.
The Regional Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Mr. John Tsrakasu, congratulated all the farmers at the municipality and urged them to work harder to generate more funds for their farming activities, adding that the world is dynamic and we need to work hard for a better Ghana.
The Chief Executive of Finatrade, Mr. John Awuni, in his contribution, said they are committed to the long-term success of local rice production and asked the farmers to maintain the equipment with great care, endeavour to improve in rice production and promised that they will continue to secure markets for their produce.
Pastor Holy Mensah, a Rice Farmer at the Municipality, asked all institutions, individuals and other stakeholders to come to their aid to help them with additional equipment for the development of rice field.
Mis.s Joyce Ackah of USAID Ghana, lauded all the rice farmers for their efforts and hoped that next year rice production will increase and the municipality will produce the most quality rice.
Source: ISD (Antoinette Mintah)