A cross section of the public in Koforidua have called for reduction in prices of local rice on the market to attract patronage.
According to some traders and consumers, the high prices of the local rice as compared to that of imported rice was a disincentive discouraging people from buying.
Speaking in separate interviews with the Ghana News Agency on reactions to the budget statement of restricting importations on some products like rice, they noted that reducing the prices of the local rice was key to any policy to increase its patronage.
Madam Eva Yirenkyi, a rice dealer said apart from complains on the quality of Ghana rice, the prices were a major deterrent to the public “People now want to purchase the local rice, but the price as compared with the imported ones makes it a difficult choice for them.”
She said often, people come to ask of the local rice she stocks, but when they compare the prices with the imported ones “they quickly change their minds to opt for the latter.”
She said with Gh60 or Gh50, one could purchase a-five kilogram (5kg) of imported rice, while local rice of the same value ranged between Gh80-Gh100 cedis.
She said that situation was making patronage of the local rice very low while the imported ones kept soaring “sometimes it takes me a whole month to sell 25kg of Ghana rice while I sell about 50kg of imported rice averagely every week.”
Madam Zariatu Adams, also a retail rice dealer, said she had stopped stocking the local rice because it did move fast as buyers preferred the varieties of the imported rice.
She said the urge to consume the Ghana rice to support the local industry was high, but the only barrier was the price “now complaints on the quality has reduced, but the major concern is the price,” she added.
Ms Ama Konadu, a teacher, told GNA that the local rice was very good for rice porridge and rice balls, but she had stopped buying it again because of the high price.
“Just a week ago I wanted to buy the 25 kg of the local rice but when I compared the price with some of the imported rice, I just settled on the latter so obviously the price is a big concern.”
“How can we buy local rice with all its issues at a high price when we can get perfumed rice at a cheaper price” she questioned.
GNA checks at some wholesale and retail shops showed that the average price of 25 kg of Ghana rice or local rice ranged from Gh450-Gh550 with 5kg selling at Gh90 or Gh110 cedis while that of the imported rice ranged from Gh300-600 depending on the brand.
According to experts the local rice was highly nutritious because it is not too polished as compared to the imported rice, which are highly polished to become clean or improve its quality.