The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will be implementing the second phase of one of its flagship Projects in the Agriculture Sector in Ashanti and Northern regions which is aimed at increasing rice production in the country.
The project: ‘Project for Sustainable Development of Rainfed Lowland Rice Production’ offer rice farmers in the Ashanti and Northern regions the opportunity to adopt technology to grow rice in lowland areas in these two regions.
A statement from JICA said this was announced by Mr. Kosuke Nagino, Project Formulation Advisor at JICA Ghana Office through a speech at a two separate workshops held in Kumasi in the Ashanti region and Tamale in the Northern region.
Mr. Nagino indicated that at the end of the first phase, on the average, rice yields in the target areas doubled. He mentioned that the increased yields were six tonnes per hectare from a baseline of three tonnes per hectare in the Ashanti Region and four tonnes per hectare from two tonnes per hectare in the Northern Region.
“This translated into increase in farmers’ incomes and improved standards of living of beneficiary households,” he added.
According to him, the project goal of increasing the productivity and profitability of rice farming in rainfed lowland ecologies in the target areas was achieved. "Qualitatively, the Project was able to develop a Rice Extension Guideline that contains rice cultivation and extension techniques that also served as a basis for the development of beneficiary District Rice Extension Plans,” he added.
The statement indicated that under the new phase, JICA will provide technical guidance in the dissemination of the extension guidelines to the new districts whereas Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) will be responsible for guiding the Regional and District Agriculture Departments in the implementation of rice extension activities.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development is expected to assist the Municipal, Metropolitan and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in mainstreaming the project activities in their planning and budgeting.
Together with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), JICA implemented the first phase of the Project from 2009 to 2014 in five districts in Ashanti region and four districts in the Northern Region.
The beneficiary districts in the Ashanti region include Asante Akim North, Asante Akim Central, Atwima Mponua, Ahafo Ano North and Adansi South. Those in the Northern region are Tamale Metropolitan, East Gonja, West Mamprusi and Sagnerigu districts.