By Joyce Bedeley:
Deputy Director of agric engineering at the Ministry Of Food and Agriculture, MOFA has challenged calls made by the Minister of Food and Agric to the Korean Government to support Ghana with her expertise in rice production in order to help Ghana reduce the huge amount of dollars spent on importing rice into the country.
Mr. Samuel Kwadjo Somoah who is an agric engineer by profession and also a farmer questioned the basis of the minister’s call ‘when the same foreigners whose assistance we seek are the very ones who benefit from our inefficiencies.’
‘We have to be smart in the sense that these foreigners, after producing their rice, import it into Africa and sell so why must we invite the same people to train us to produce the same commodity (from which they benefit), there’s no way they will teach you anything good,’ Mr. Somoah argued. To him, the country would only expend on needless symposia, workshops, seminars and other meetings designed at training participants but which in the end would only pass as waste of national resources, adding that Ghanaians need to be smart.
He urged government to focus on catchment areas such as Asutsuare and akuse if its intention is to bring in development partners, rather than focusing on the needless seminars. He hinged this argument on the fact that irrigation systems had already been constructed which is helping the production of rice in these areas.
Mr. Somoah’s calls comes on the heels of the appeal made by the Minister for Food and Agriculture, Hon. Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, to the Korean Government to support Ghana with her expertise in rice production in order to help the Ghana reduce the huge amount of dollars spent on importing rice into the country.
Ghana’s Agric Minister was of the view that with their knowledge and expertise in modern system of rice production, the Government of Korea should invest heavily in the cultivation of the staple food in order to boost local production.
Hon. Dr. Afriyie Akoto made the appeal when an 8-member delegation led by the Korean Ambassador to Ghana, His Excellency Lyeo Woon-Ki, paid a courtesy call on him at his office on Wednesday. The visit was mainly to welcome the new Minister and to hold bilateral talks on how the two countries can foster economic relationships, particularly in the agricultural sector.
It also afforded the Korean Ambassador the opportunity to brief the Minister on the various policies and programmes which have been proposed by his country to support the growth of agriculture in Ghana.
Hon. Dr. Afriyie Akoto noted that Ghana is ready to partner Korea in the use of high technology for rice production, stressing that it is the only to help cut import whilst enhancing local production.
His Excellency, Lyeo Woon-Ki, on his part said his country was always ready to partner Ghana in her quest to improve and modernize the agric sector. The Ambassador said the main target was to increase the production of rice in Ghana by 50% through an initiative set to be rolled out subject to the approval of Ghana Government.