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Pay attention to irrigation-Chief appeal to Gov't

The Chief of Gushei in the Savelugu/Nanton Municipality of the Northern Region, Professor Alhassan Abubakari has urged government and stakeholders in Agricultural  sector to pay serious attention to irrigation farming in the region. 
According to professor Alhassan Abubakari, it would  save as a supplement during dry spells in order that the region can be  become competitive in rice production. 
The Gushei Naa who was charing the Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project Investor Conference in Tamale  said though the provision of agriculture infrastructure is huge investment, government  and private sector needs to put in more efforts. 
It is estimated that Ghana spends more than 450 million dollars annually on rice importation to augment local demand. As at 2012, government achieved a 30 % reduction in rice importation.
 The feat was achieved through government's rice policies and interventions which includes the distribution of improved seeds, farm machineries and other projects initiated by government. 
In spite of efforts made in local rice production, it is said that the cost of production remained high and uncompetitive in the domestic market due to relatively cheaper imported rice.  
GCAP through matching grant scheme is providing  support along the rice maize and soya beans value chains to improve the quantity and quality of rice and other crops produced in Ghana. 
  1. The project through its efforts over the last couple years has identified 10,000 hectares suitable for rain- fed rice production in the Nasia-Nabogo inland valleys and is inviting investors and contractors to take advantage of the opportunity to produce rice.
The initiative will provide a further boost to local rice production in the country and spur economic development of one the critical growth poles of the SADA zone. 
The government of Ghana through GCAP has also called on investors to focus on rice production in the Nasia-Nabogo with view of producing good quality rice to reduce importation and crate much needed jobs for the teeming young people in the country.
Project Coordinator of GCAP, Mr Alabi Bortey said government bid to making agricultural sector into a vibrant commercial entity secured a hundred illicit United States Dollars credit from the World Bank and got a grant of of forty five million United States dollars from USAID to implement the GCAP project. 
Land, the project coordinator observed is a major component in any investment in agriculture and as a result GCAP has  prepared a report to facilitate the investment in agriculture. 
The report focuses on establishment of land banks, model land lease agreement, document to be made available to investors and local community and diagnostic studies (land audit) for the Nasia-Nabogo valley. 

The World Bank’s Task Team Leader, Hans Jansen emphasized the need for government to support GCAP to reduce rice importation into the country.

He said GCAP will finance pre-financed the land acquisition and will outsource it at lower cost to the concerned investors.

Hans Jansen expressed optimism that better and much more efficient use of rain fed rice production will be enhanced under the GCAP.


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