Two rice varieties introduced to rice farmers at Nyariga


Two new early maturing and climate-smart rice varieties have been introduced to rice farmers at Nyariga, a community in the Bongo District of the Upper East Region.

Climate-Smart Agriculture

The AGRA and Banse Rice varieties are high yielding and pest tolerant.

The farmers were also introduced to the best agronomic practices, including seed selection, transplanting, fertiliser application, pest control and harvesting, among others.

The Savannah Agriculture Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-SARI) developed and released the varieties as part of the implementation of the Integrated Pest Management Using Rice Varieties and Good Agronomic Practices project.

The project is implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and Modernising Agriculture in Ghana (MAG) with financial support from Global Affairs Canada and being piloted in five regions across the country.

The beneficiary regions are Upper East, Volta, Bono, Ashanti and Eastern.

Dr Samuel Mahama, the Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, CSIR at the Head Office, noted that the project aimed to address issues of pest infestation, low yields and quality of rice and boost local production to help cut down importation.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ghana spends close to $1 billion on the importation of rice annually and between 2017 to 2020, the government spent GH₵6.874 billion to import only rice into the country.

Dr Mahama said the successes of the project, which would be scaled up to benefit more farmers, was part of efforts to complement the government’s campaign for the consumption of locally produced rice to increase the revenue of farmers and develop the economy.

“We need to be aggressive in the way we promote our rice, to encourage the public to cultivate the taste for it since the desire for foreign rice is high, so if the government pushes hard and get the interest of local rice into Ghanaians, we will be making a headway,” he said.

Dr Issah Sugri, a Senior Research Scientist, CSIR-SARI, Manga Station, noted that due to climate change impact and erratic rainfall pattern, farmers needed to be supported to venture into early maturing and high yielding varieties coupled with best agronomic practices to increase production.

Dr Sugri stated that AGRA and Banse rice matured between 95 to 120 days and 80 to 90 days respectively and farmers could engage in multiple cropping within a year to meet the increasing demand for varieties, particularly the AGRA.

He encouraged farmers to make a paradigm shift from seeing farming as an avenue to feed their households to taking it as a business and adopting new improved technologies to increase production.

Mr Justice Ayine, the Assemblyman for the Bongo-Nyariga Electoral Area, on behalf of the farmers, expressed gratitude to CSIR-SARI and its partners for the knowledge imparted to them and hoped that it would help them to increase their production outcomes.

Mr Ayine, who is also the 2019 Upper East Regional best farmer, noted that the lack of farm implemented such as tractors, planters and combined harvesters were affecting their efforts to increase production and appealed for support.

By Anthony Apubeo




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