Commercial Rice Farmers at the Fumbisi Rice Valley in the Builsa South District of the Upper East Region, are in a state of worry as they continue to search for buyers for their farm produce.
The Fumbisi area, well noted for rice farming particularly in commercial quantity, suffered a similar fate last year which resulted in huge post harvest losses.
Secretary of the Builsa South Commercial Farmers Association, Daniel Abayaakadina Atuilik, told A1 News in an interview that they were in the harvesting epoch but yet to see buyers coming in their numbers to patronize.
“Majority of us are harvesting our rice produce, but we are not seeing buyers coming to ask or place orders. I know this year, most of us have increased our farm sizes; a minimum farm size a farmer has is close to 50 acres and the maximum farm sizes are close to 200 arcs. So you can imagine the kind of investment we have placed at work. Now, it is time for harvest yet buyers are not coming, we are in fact, depressed.” He stressed.
The developing situation, the commercial rice farmers numbering up to hundreds, feared would have a negative impact on their fortunes and could prevent them from engaging in farming during the next farming season.
“We are hoping for the best because how things are going; if it continues, majority of us may end up giving up on farming. How can you invest much and in the end buyers are not there to buy?” Mr. Atuilik added.
The association has therefore called on government and other private stakeholders to take steps to set up a stable and structured market to support the activities of commercial rice farmers in the area.
Touching on farming equipments, the association also complained about the challenge of inadequate combined harvesters to help in harvesting their produce.
“We cannot say combined harvesters are not concerns to us. Currently, there are only fifteen (15) of such in the Valley but we need more than that number. We need like 200 or more combined harvesters to help speed up our harvesting process so that the rice will not dry on the fields.” Mr. Atuilik noted.
On his part, the Builsa South District Director of Agriculture, Sylvan Dauda Danaa, assured the rice farmers of steps being taken by his outfit in partnership with investors and other stakeholders to address their concerns.
He said, “Negotiations are far advance. We are in talks with the government, private sector individuals and other stakeholders. Currently, we are doing over 2700 hectors, last year we managed 1500 hectors, which means this year we are doing more than half of the area cropped last year.”
“I will like to use this medium to echo that even though the government has made some efforts to support farmers by providing inputs and in the process of linking them to the markets, but the demand now is slow we have some buyers but they are reluctant to come forward.”
Mr. Duada Danaa ceased the platform to call on more private individuals to collaborate with them to achieve their targets; as well as boost youth participating in farming.
Source: A1Radioonline.com|101.1MHZ|Moses Apiah/Ghana