A Deputy Minister of Agriculture, George Kofi Boahen Oduro, has stated that the destruction of the 600 rice farms by drought in Ketu North is a natural phenomenon which the ministry has no control over.
Speaking to Captain Smart on the ‘Anopa Bofo’ morning show, he said in Twi that, “there was a drought leading to the destruction of the [600 rice] farms, when it happens like this, we can’t question God. We didn’t create the drought, it’s natural”.
The minister’s response follows the loss of 700 acres of rice farms by severe weather conditions in the Ketu North Municipality. In all, about 600 farmers at Klenomadzi and Devego, near Dzodze in the Ketu North Municipality of the Volta Region, have lost their vast rice farms to drought.
According to Mr. Oduro, the drought and subsequent destruction of the farms has got nothing to do with the ministry nor the government but rather an issue between himself, Captain Smart and God.
He noted that, it is during President Akufo-Addo’s government that farming has become appealing to farmers since the inception of the fourth republic.
The Deputy Minister blamed farmers for taking their work lightly and called for sensitisation of farmers on the need to perceive their work as a business venture.
“We need to let the farmers know that farming is a business because sometimes they do just do anything. Now we need to make them understand that it [farming] is a business, ” he emphasized.
He touted government’s commitment to the Agric sector saying that farmers are being given subsidies up to 50% on seeds and fertilizers.
“The hybrid rice seedlings are sold to farmers for GHS8 in the open market but the ministry gives it out for GHS3 and every acre of land gives you at least 40 bags. We have made the farmers to move from the traditional seeds to improved seeds from the ministry,” he acclaimed.
On his part, Nana Oboadea Boateng Bonsu, President of Concerned Farmers Association, defended the Deputy Minister’s position that the ministry cannot be held accountable for the destruction of the farms.
Nana Boateng Bonsu stated in Twi that, “when you look at the rice farms that are dried up, we cannot hold the Ministry of Agric liable because it is not the ministry that can cause rainfall. Also, agriculture is a private work and government is doing all his best for farmers to be okay. It is up to us to know whether where we grow our crops has enough water to support our rice farms”.
The Deputy Agric Minister further disclosed that government is targeting to stop rice importation by 2022.