The Ministry of Agric says it will do all it can to safeguard the interest of rice farmers in the country, following threats that thousands of people in the rice value chain risk losing their jobs due to the benchmark discount policy in place.
According to rice farmers, the benchmark value reduction policy, makes imported rice cheaper by 25%, thus contributing to the uncompetitiveness of local rice on the market and stifling Ghana’s industrialisation agenda.
The ministry which is mainly in charge of production, processing as well as the marketing of local rice says initiatives such as the Special Rice Initiative Programme and Planting for Food and Jobs will continue to be rolled out while it takes the necessary steps to help Ghana’s local rice industry to grow.
Head of Public Relation at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Bagbara Tanko in a Citi Business News interview said “It will be very difficult for me at this time to say if interventions have been made for rice farmers with regard to the benchmark policy because I am not privy to any yet but I’m sure the Ministry will not just sit aloof but will be taking the necessary actions to ensure that our farmers get the best and the entire rice value chain will also get the best”.
“It’s disheartening to hear that there is so much that has been produced, yet there is no market or it’s in the market but affordability rates are high. We have put in place some measures, we have what we call the Special Rice Initiative Programme, we also have the Planting for Food and Jobs, in fact, they involve the supply of improved varieties that can compete with world standards to farmers and also help develop the undeveloped values. So from the government side in terms of mechanization, some handheld machines were imported and as we speak we are expecting the last batch of machines i.e, harvesters and the rice millers which will be installed in a cluster of communities so that they can have access to it”.