Today, I decided to spend my holiday differently. I jumped out of bed like 6 and headed for the rice farms for my date! Hehe (as if I went to weed, forgerrit)! I am surrounded by all these farms yet I do not even get close to them. I see them from afar and that’s it. So let’s just say that’s all I sought to do, to get close.
I made some arrangements on Friday and got myself a date for a tour! Yeah! My neighbours work at the Kpong Irrigation Scheme. The scheme provides water for rice farmers in Kpong (closer to Akuse) and its environs all year round, rain or shine. Cool right? I am even told that neighbouring farming firms and other companies benefit from it.
Well, let’s get on with my tour. I am all too jumpy and excited to talk about it!
I, first of all, had to clad my feet in a pair of wellington boots, you know for the clay, mud and all.
For the first time I got close to the rice, it actually looked like well-grown weeds (ebeei)! Tall, strong, dark green straws (that is for the maturing ones). They only looked beautiful when you looked at them stretched beyond where the eyes cannot reach. GREEN. And that way it makes such a beautiful contrast, as against the pale-grey sky.
Later, I saw straws that had rice on them. They had matured to the milk stage that I had craved to see. I touched the grain, burst it and saw the white substance come out. Aww, I liked it. It was fascinating to know how things work you know. It is nothing really but yeah, that’s just me.
There were the rice beds. Holding the rice from the base, I realized the straws were not separate; they were actually from a common stump. I was taught that they are called tillers, and many tillers can grow from a single grain. One stump (grown sprouts of a grain) had about 5 tillers. So do the math, you can get a double of the seeds you actually sow on the farm. Interesting isn’t it?
Plus, I learnt rice is one strong crop; no amount of heavy downpour on the tiny shoots of rice can wash it away (difficult to get rid of). I saw one bed with brownish patches on some of the straws and thought that was the end. My guide explained it was actually getting restored to normal after a fungal attack or so. The plants were sprayed with chemicals (weedicides, fungicides).
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LEARNED SOME AGRIC ENGINEERING
I learned a bit about rice nursery management and how many factors affect crop survival and yield. The guide said fertilizer intake, water levels, the spacing of crops all affect the yield.
The trial was to check how the amount of nitrogen intake can result in more or less yield. Some beds had zero nitrogen, others 60 or 80. The potassium and phosphorus intake all beds had a constant ratio -70:70. From what I saw on the fields, nitrogen is good for the rice. So yeah, rice farmers get to save money on fertilizer by investing on those that are more beneficial. Else…. Guess!
Okay, I will tell you. These tests will really amount to nothing. Popular Ghanaian laymen attitude of “We have been growing rice long before you started school”. O Charlie what kind of attitude mpo is that? Hmmm.
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THE KPONG DAM!
I thought my tour was over and we were heading back home when we came close to a sort of street; the truck stood and I asked if it was a railway track or something. My question gave my host a good laugh.
Then we got out and I climbed up to – WOWNESS! Yeah to ‘wowness.’ The Kpong dam! There it was, right before me, stretched in mesmerizing vastness. I have seen the Akosombo dam from a distance and even gotten close to the moving turbine. Well, I was still awed, plus the sea is more fascinating too o. It’s probably because it’s been a while I saw it. Lots of those granite rocks lined it. It was so still. So calm.
I sat on the rocks and gazed. It was just like my first experience at the sea. At that moment you’ve got nothing to think or say to nobody mheen. You only see water and it’s like that is all you care about. The water simply renders you speechless. You are held by its gaze.
Heaven definitely did know what I was thinking. An old man came along in a canoe! Boy, how I was craving to be on the water! Quickly, we talked him into allowing me in, for a shot or two on my camera. He gladly agreed.
From where I was descending, it was steep, but my excitement was all the courage I needed. He paddled just for a while to stabilize the canoe just so I could get the camera shots I wanted. Looking into the canoe now, I could see His net had caught some small tilapia. They jumped and tossed, right by my feet, as though, they would even bite. Ha-ha!
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The rice farms, fish ponds, cows grazing, the occasional group of people we met washing along the canals isn’t anything so amusing to behold. The simplicity that characterized it all amounts to something.
Just set the scenery against all the buzz in the cities—blaring music from pubs you see after every 5 steps; unnecessary honking from taxis; as for the busy streets and traffic situations, do not go there.
So you see what I mean? We all enjoy the conveniences in Accra and all, and just maybe I am being biased because I really needed this; even still, I dare say everyone needs this too. Like once in a while get away from all the buzz, find some countryside and enjoy its natural goodness. Well for me it was all so priceless! Refreshing!! THERAPEUTIC!!!
#NSS2018 #NSPInsideShaiOsudokuDistrict #ACNSPstellsnotales
Rice Farm Story By Margaret Blankson
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