Students from the University of Ghana have built an innovative machine capable of boosting rice production in Ghana.
The machine was part of products that was showcased on Friday by the University of Ghana’s Technology Development and Transfer Centre.
The newly developed technology is capable of boosting Ghana’s rice production to an average of about seven tons per hectare as against Japan and South Korea’s average of six tons per hectare.
The one day exhibition was aimed at showcasing to Ghanaians and the world the University’s technologies developed by its students.
According to Dr. Joseph Ofori, a research fellow at the University of Ghana, extending the technology to many farmers in the low lands will enable Ghana produce more than its current producing capacity.
“We have about 800,000 hectares of low land for rice production and if we are able to produce a third of this area we should be able to get enough rice and even export,” he said.
“One positive aspect of this technology is that we don’t use heavy machinery but rather simple and affordable machinery for production. In many of the low land areas and irrigated systems, usually bulldozers are used to clear and level the land. But this one it is simple machinery called power tiller,” he explained.
Ghanaians have over the years developed a voracious appetite for imported rice due to its dominance in the market as well as its perfumed nature.
Dr. Joseph Ofori noted that the preference of consumers is being incorporated in the newly developed rice production system.
“We don’t just produce any rice anyhow. We normally produce what they call fragrant or aromatic or perfume rice. We produce what is comparable to what is imported into the country. What we have been asking farmers to produce is very tasty and healthy,” he said.
In his view, there is the need for government to assist rice farmers acquire more of the power tillers to expand their work as well as “help in the exploitation of underground water in places not close to water bodies for which this technology was developed.”
“About the processing bit of rice production we need factories. Ghanaians are very sophisticated when it comes to rice consumption. The rice should be good enough for them and shouldn’t have any foreign materials in them. So we need good rice mills to process them. If we so this and the rice is bagged well then we will see that the consumers are alright with it,” he advised.
Picking rice as a major commodity, Dr. Joseph Ofori was certain the country could possibly exploit the idea of one rice factory for each district across the country citing the vast array of lands available.
” In Ghana, from the north to the south, we have lands. In the Northern Region for instance we have a vast land which is called the flood plain which could be developed for rice production. And when it comes to the south, we have valleys. So, there shouldn’t be problem at all developing rice industry in each district,” he pointed out.