The Agricultural Engineering Services Directorate (AESD) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has taken delivery of new farm equipment to support the operations of the small, medium, and large-scale farmers to enhance efficiency and boost yields.
The equipment includes custom-made and conditioned rice tractors and accessories.
The Tractors, Cabrio Compact Tractor and Global Multipurpose Mini Tractor have been designed and conditioned to help triple rice production by allowing rice farmers to harvest and thresh their produced rice on the fields.
The move forms part of the government’s quest to boost the production of local rice and reduce the rice import bill under the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative.
At a day’s event to demonstrate the operation of the machinery in Awutu, in the Central Region, Mr Amatus K.B Deyang, the Director of AESD said the tractors were made in the Czech Republic and procured by the government with a €10-million facility from the Czech Export Bank arranged by Knights, a.s. of the Czech Republic.
He said an agreement to that effect was signed in April 2018, when a delegation led by Dr Akoto Afriyie, the Minister of Food and Agriculture visited the Czech Republic.
Mr Deyang stated that a total of 220 Cabrio Compact Tractors and 300 Global Multipurpose Min Tractors had arrived in Ghana under the first phase of the project.
He said the machines were easy to use, simple, effective and efficient, affordable, and would transition farmers from cutlass and hole to mechanization while increasing productivity.
Mr Deyang added that village infrastructure projects and agricultural mechanisation could only succeed in developing countries when “peasant farmers are introduced to smaller machinery than nurtured to the handling of the bigger machinery”
“With these Tractors which are easier to maintain and service, a gradual transformation and nurturing of machine maintenance culture will be created, as an introductory stage for larger machinery and extensive agricultural mechanisation” said.
Dr Karl Laryea, the Chief Executive Officer of Knights a.s, noted that the machines were effective, efficient, durable, and offered a range of services as well as had reliable after-sales service should there be technical issues.
He stated that the Cabrio Compact Tractor, he been tailored to fit the needs of medium-scale farmers or small-scale farmer associations/cooperatives with the cultivated area about 20 hectares.
“Global Multipurpose Mini Tractor is a simple technology and the first step to agricultural mechanization for small scale farmers with a cultivated area of 2 to 3 hectares,” Dr Laryea, who is represented in Ghana by BIGA International Limited said.
According to him, a market survey conducted in Sub-Saharan African countries revealed that there was a great demand for the Compact and Mini Tractors.
“This is attributed to the fact that there are only a few companies in the region engaged in solving the existing problem in the small and medium scale farming industry,” he noted.
Dr Laryea said the company had an excellent result on the test trials of the technology in many Sub-Saharan African Countries apart from Ghana.
He mentioned the Oyo State of Nigeria, Taraba State of Nigeria, Guinea Conakry, Liberia, Republic of Benin, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Angola, D.R. Congo, Zambia and many more.
Dr Laryea said the Republic of Ghana, Benin, and Liberia had ordered over 35-million Euro worth of the technology from the year 2005 to date.