Nana Adjei Ayeh II, President of the Ghana Rice Inter-Pofessional Body (GRIB) has called on farmers and value chain actors in rice production to position themselves to help drive change in the industry.
He said rice as a second staple lacked the needed attention for large-scale production as other staples grown in the country.
Nana Ayeh who was speaking at the launch of rice value chain platform and inauguration of regional and district executives of the Body said averagely the country spent about $1.5 billion annually on rice importation, a situation rice farmers could turn around with the needed support.
He noted that rice importation was crippling the nation’s economy and called on government to support the local rice industry to help build wealth in the country.
Nana Ayeh said the election of regional and district executives would help drive the accelerated growth and generate the needed pressure to turn around the fortunes of farmers and value chain actors in the industry.
He bemoaned how the Body “did not have the numbers to make an impact” as accurate data on rice farmers and value-chain actors were unavailable.
Nana Ayeh applauded the John Agyekum Kuffour Foundation (JAKF) and the Alliance for Green Revolution Africa (AGRA) for supporting GRIB to collect data on the farmers and stakeholders nationwide as well as assist them to restructure the Body.
Mr Gideon Hosu-Porbley, Programme Advisor, JAKF, said the Foundation had worked in other African countries to help rice farmers streamline their production and same would be replicated here.
He called for concerted effort in ensuring that management at both the national and sub-national levels were beneficial to members of the Body.
Mr Anthony Yaw Anyidoho, Volta Regional Chairman, said rice farmers were faced with post-harvest losses due to lack of drying floors and silos which helps improve rice quality and price.
He appealed to the government to provide rice farming districts with machinery especially as the commodity lodges into the soil due to lack of combine-harvesters which becomes problematic for production.
Ghana produces 750,000 metric tons of paddy rice annually out of which 60 per cent is recovered.