Ghana — Bushfires continue to wreak havoc on large tracts of rice farms in the Northern Region, where farmers are saddled with the problem of inadequate machinery for harvest.
By last Saturday, the disaster had struck more than eight rice farms, covering hundreds of hectares, including a 77-hectare farm in Yendi owned by Col (retd) Ibrahim Abdulai, a former Northern Regional Minister.
The other calamity occurred at Kpalkori, where the farmers claimed that the unavailability of combine harvesters for early harvest in the region was a contributory factor to the hazard.
The Kpalkori Farm belongs to members of Northern Youth for Peace and Development, a Tamale-based civil society organisation.
According to the project co-ordinator, Mr Yahaya Abdul-Rauf, the youth cultivated 87 hectares of rice, out of which only 10 hectares was spared by the fire.
He was full of sympathy for the farmers he described as unemployed youth mobilised from various political groups to take advantage of the youth-in-agriculture programme rolled out by the government.
Mr Abdul-Rauf explained that after acquiring the land at Kpalkori, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture supported them with fast-yielding rice seeds which they planted in September.
Even though the rice was ready for harvest in October, we could not readily get a combine harvester, since there were not enough in the region, he said.
He said members of the association had to contribute to buy fuel and spare parts to fix some broken down combine harvesters, but unfortunately they all broke down again on the farm.
Mr Abdul-Rauf, therefore, appealed to the government to come to their aid, since they had exhausted all their resources in their farming venture.