The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) is to support the Eastern Region to intensify rice production to make Ghana self-sufficient in the staple within the next three years.

This was announced by the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Afriyie Akoto, in Koforidua at the end of his five-day tour of the Bono, Bono East, Ashanti, and Eastern regions.

 The tour was to help find the effects of the COVID-19 on the implementation of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ).

He expressed appreciation to the large number of farmers engaged in rice cultivation in the Region and said his office had imported equipment including planters, cultivators, and harvesters for small scale rice cultivators.

Dr Akoto said the Eastern Region was not known among rice producing regions and was happy about the inroads made in cultivating the staple after meeting with rice farmers and processors in the Region.

He said his tour revealed that the Planting for Food and Job programme was on course and had not been affected by the COVID-19 directives in terms of target set for seed and fertilizer supply and the number of farmers engaged in the programme.

Dr Akoto said in future, the Ministry would separate contract for supply of seeds from that of fertilizer to ensure that farmers got them at the right time and in the right quantities.

The Ministry would not tolerate the attempt by some contractors of seed to cheat the system by diverting subsidised seeds to sell at the open market, he cautioned.

Mr Francis Adzalo, the President of Seed Producers Association of Ghana, appealed to the MOFA to support local seed producers to produce high yielding hybrid seeds to reduce the country’s dependence on imported ones.