The Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana, PFAG, has warned that the country could suffer rice shortage this year following the negative impact of COVID-19.
Ghana imports about US$1 billion worth of rice annually to meet a monthly rice demand of 940,000 tonnes.
But according to the Association, the COVID-19 restrictions in countries that Ghana imports rice from, coupled with last year’s ravaging of rice farms in Northern Ghana, poses a threat to the country’s food security.
The Head of Programs and Advocacy for the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana, Charles Nyaaba, told Citi Business News they want government to urgently support rice farmers to mitigate the impending consequences of rice shortage.
“It will be useful if government could get us inputs like fertilizer or seeds to produce and payback. They could also connect us to the banks for credit at reasonable interest rates. We are pleading with them to pay heed to our pleas. Usually, they don’t listen to our calls. They tell us the banks will support us. But when we go to the banks, they will also not listen to us. We need government to direct the banks to ensure full compliance from them,” he said.
He also bemoaned the neglect of rice farmers whose farms were ravaged by bush fires, despite several assurances by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to support the victims.
“Most rice farms were burnt, I personally lost 55 acres of rice fieldz. We had several engagements with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and they agreed to compensate the farmers who lost our rice farms so that we will be able to farm this year,’ he added.
The economic impact of the novel Coronavirus has disrupted many economic activities as well as global supply chains.
COVID-19 threatens rice production in Builsa South – MoFA District Director
Earlier this year, the Builsa South District Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) in the Upper East Region, Mr. Sylvan Dauda Danaa, also said that the COVID-19 situation may affect rice production in the area.
He said there is the need for intensive education if production is to increase.
According to him, even though there are plans to increase rice production in the District beyond the quantity produced last year, various concerns related to COVID-19 could cause many farmers, especially small scale farmers to reduce production.