The Small Scale Rice Dealers Association of Ghana (SSRIDA-GH) has rejected claims that lifting of the ban on inland importation of rice will affect rice production by local farmers.
According to the association, rice producers in the country are not able to meet the demand, hence the need to import to fill the demand gap.
Speaking to Citi Business News, the National Coordinator of the association, Yaw Koran welcomed the lifting of the ban and hoped the move will end the use of unapproved routes to import rice into Ghana.
“I don’t agree with the producers. How many tonnes do we produce in the country which can survive and how many tonnes can they produced to feed the population. What we produce will not be sufficient for what we require in this country or what we eat,” he said.
Mr. Koran argued that rice has become a staple food with demand escalating to its highest levels in recent times.
His comments, comes at a time that local rice producers’ fear there will be a decline in production levels, following the decision by government to allow the importation of rice from all the inland borders effective today, August 1, 2016.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry last Friday announced that it has lifted the over two year ban on the importation of rice through the various inland borders across the country.
Rice farmers unhappy
“For us this is not a good news and therefore we will just look at it as government trying to solve a system of taking taxes and then leaving a bigger problem of not meeting the increasing demand for rice,” Executive Secretary of the Ghana Rice Inter-professional Body, Evans Sackey Teye explained to Citi Business News.
The Ministry is however yet to announce strategies to clamp down on possible tax evasion by some of the importers.
Commenting on the development, Mr. Teye explained that the latest decision demonstrates lack of government’s commitment to increase prospects of local rice manufacturing.
Volume of rice production
Meanwhile, the ban is said to have increased local rice production from an estimated 400,000 tonnes in 2013 to about 650,000 tonnes in 2015.
“The ban has actually helped for over two years now, it has increased production from about 35 to over 55 percent of consumption in the country and that is about twenty percent jump since the ban was introduced,” he added.
By: Norvan Acquah – Hayford/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana