Mr Sylvan Dauda Danaa, the Builsa South District Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has cautioned farmers against wild or false rice which mimic actual rice crops on farms and affect production.
He said “Wild rice now is spreading very quick, even other alien weeds have come up and as a result of poor land preparation, wild rice is spreading very fast.”
Mr Danaa, who was speaking at a stakeholder meeting at Yagaba in the Mamprugu-Moaduri District of the North East Region which was intended to discuss the development of the rice sector in both the Upper East and North Regions noted that, the meeting, which brought together farmers from the Fumbisi and Gbedembilisi valleys, Wiesi, Tongo, Vea and Nasia in the two Regions was critical as it offered the farmers the opportunity to learn some critical practices that affected their production.
He said smallholder farms produced about 80 percent of food, members of the public consumed. The Director explained that there could be transfer of the infection between two farms, if there was exchange of farm tools from an infested wild rice farm to the other without cleaning the tools.
“The wild rice is like the rice crop, and so weedicides that are supposed to kill the wild rice, rather kills other weeds and leaves the wild or false rice. This is because the wild rice and the actual rice have same morphological and physiological structures.”
He said “The weedicides are selective weedicides, that should kill any other weeds apart from rice, but you have a weed that is in the same family as rice crop so it becomes difficult for the weedicides to control it.”
He said the weedicides rather destroyed other weeds and allowed the wild rice which completed with the actual rice crop for nutrients and reduced the yields.
Mr Danaa said “After weeding and broadcasting, you realise that the rice will germinate early, but the wild rice will come later and even over take it within a short time. This reduces your yield, it is a serious problem that we need to look at.”
He disclosed that many rice farms in the Fumbisi valleys were infested with wild rice which could not be cleared with the weedicides, “What we do is to physically hand pick the wild rice which is spreading very quick.”
Mr Abdul-Rahman Mohammed the President of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) appealed for rice buyers for members of the Association.
He insisted that farmers needed to get ready market for their produce before they produced, and said the situation where farmers produced before they looked for market for their produce posed a challenge to them.
Mr Mohammed said members of the Association encountered several challenges in the farming business, right from land preparation to the period of harvest, and appealed to government to support them with combine harvesters to harvest their produce this year.
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