President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has underlined the government's determination to support rice farmers in the Builsa South District to substantially increase production.
He said everything would be done to develop the vast fertile valleys of Fumbisi and Gbedembilisi to cut down on rice imports.
Ghana has been spending millions of dollars to import rice, but he noted that, the country could produce enough of the cereal grain for both local consumption and export, when the expansive land in the area was fully developed.
President Akufo-Addo was addressing chiefs and people of Fumbisi as part of his six-day working visit to the Upper East, Upper west and Northern Regions.
He said agriculture research findings showed that "when the necessary attention and investment is given to the Fumbisi and Gbedembilisi rice valleys, enough rice could be produced from those valleys to feed the nation".
"It is against this background that government is interested in developing the fertile lands to realize the full agriculture potentials of the area, particularly in the area of rice production to boost food security in the region and Ghana as a whole".
He added that they were eager to make Fumbisi, the hub of rice production in the whole of West Africa, and promised to establish an Agricultural College in the town to train students in various fields of agriculture to enhance productivity and growth.
"There can be no better place than Fumbisi to have an agricultural college that has the potential to develop the rice basket not just in Ghana but West Africa."
He told the gathering that he was going to do everything within his power to make sure that this became a dream come true.
Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, said everybody who had studied agriculture in Ghana knew of the prospects of the Fumbisi rice valleys which "has about 5,000 hectares of farm land for development".
Just about 900 hectares of this huge land is being used.
He said Fumbisi over the years, had been held back on its contribution to the development of agriculture in the country as over 4,000 hectares of good rice fields had been left to fallow.
Dr. Akoto spoke of plans to expand the Agriculture mechanization centre in the area and build mills there to enable farmers add value to their produce.
His ministry had been working hard to procure farm implements and equipment to increase rice production in the area.
Naab Clement Anyaturk Akanko II, applauded the government for implementing various social interventions in the area to fight poverty.
He appealed to the government to fix bad roads in the area including the Wiaga-Fumbisi-Wiesi, Kanjarga-Fumbisi-Uwasi and Fumbisi-Zamsa roads linking the various farms to the market centres to reduce cost of transport and post-harvest losses.
He also wants the Fumbisi Health Center to be upgraded to the status of a District Hospital and supplied with the needed equipment and facilities to deliver quality care – bring down infant and maternal mortality.
The President was accompanied by Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, the Minister of Education, Mr. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the Minister of Health, Mr. Kwasi Amoako Atta, Minister of Roads and Highways, Mrs Mavis Hawa Koomson, the Minister of Special Development Initiative, Madam Tangoba Abayage, the Regional Minister and other high ranking public officials.