May 24, 2011
Ag. Japanese Ambassador, Mr. Mochizuki handing over the machinery to MOFA Minister, Mr. Ahwoi
The Japanese government has extended agricultural machinery worth USD5.1 million to the government of Ghana under the grant assistance for underprivileged farmers (2KR) to increase food production. The machinery is comprised of 125 agricultural tractors with matching implements, 10 rice mills, 35 rice threshing machines, 35 rice reapers, 2 combine harvesters and 40 irrigation pumps. The equipments will be sold to farmers by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) at subsidized prices.
‘The Ghana government's expectation to meet agricultural annual average growth rate of a minimum of 6% envisaged under the vision 2015 programme from the current rate of 5.5% will not only call for the intensification of production methods, but the modernization of agriculture,’ Mr. Kwesi Ahwoi, the Food and Agriculture Minister said, in his address at the handing-over ceremony.
The Government of Japan decided to provide assistance to the Ghanaian rice sector, which is heavily dependent on imports and needs urgent attention for modernization. ‘Japan is a large rice consuming country and for a long time, has developed techniques and equipment for the modernization of rice production. Japan is assisting Ghana to modernize her rice production processes.’ Mr. Hisanobu Mochizuki, the Acting Ambassador of Japan mentioned.
He continued: ‘I believe that, through this assistance, there will be more machinery readily accessible and affordable to farmers, and farmer-based organizations will be strengthened to obtain higher leverage in the agricultural sector.’
‘Empowering small-scale farmers, is significantly important to achieving inclusive and equitable development of Ghana,’ Mr. Koichi Kito, Deputy Resident Representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) highlighted.
Mr. Ahwoi thanked the Japanese government for the assistance. He solicited the continuous cooperation of local agents and Japanese manufacturers to ensuring the efficient use of the machinery for improved output performance, while conserving soil and moisture. According to JICA, a training programme to update the technical skills of MOFA engineers was conducted by heavy agricultural equipment Japanese manufacturers in March, 2011.