The government is to bring together relevant agencies to tap the full potential of rice valleys of Fumbisi in the Builsa South District in the Upper East Region to help meet the country's rice demand and for export.
Currently, only about 900 out of the 5,000 hectares of rice fields in the area are being utilised, while the country continues to spend huge sums of foreign exchange earnings in the importation of rice.
Addressing a durbar of the chiefs and people at Fumbisi to round off his two-day tour of the region last Wednesday, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo also gave an assurance that an agriculture college would be established in the area as part of measures to develop the huge rice production potential.
“There can be no better place to have an Agricultural college than the Fumbisi area that has the potential of being the rice basket, not just for Ghana, but for the entire West Africa.
“I will do everything in my power to help develop the potential you have because we must develop it for the growth of the country.
“You are going to see a cooperation between relevant institutions and government to ensure that the agricultural sector in Fumbisi is well developed," he stated.
The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, also observed that the country had not done much over the years to fully develop the rice potential of the area, as a result “Fumbisi is being held back in its contribution to agricultural growth in Ghana. It is sad that we are spending millions of dollars importing rice into Ghana.
“As a first step, we are going to ensure the full development of the nine existing valleys we are familiar with so that Fumbisi can provide all the country's rice needs and even export the rest to other West African countries,” the minister added.
According to him, the rice fields would be developed as part of the Planting for Food and Jobs programme and would be provided with equipment such as rice harvesters, planters and rice mills while agricultural mechanisation centres would also be expanded in the area.
The Chief of Fumbisi, Nab Clement Anyatuik Akanko II, thanked the government for establishing an Agriculture Mechanisation Centre in the area and also equipping the Fumbisi Police Station with a new vehicle to facilitate movement.
He, however, entreated the government to establish an agriculture college in the Builsa South District to help train students in farming.
The chief noted that although some roads were being rehabilitated in the area, the pace of work was slow.
Nab Akanko also appealed to the government to fix the Fumbisi-Kanjarga, Fumbisi-Uwiase and Fumbisi-Zamsa roads.