The Upper West Region Rice Parboilers Association has appealed to government, civil society organisations and international donor communities to come to its aid with the provision of de-stonerand dryer machines to improve on parboil rice production.
Presently, the association has only one de-stoner machine, which was inadequate to meet the production levels of members and consumer demands.
The weather condition was also affecting products, and therefore any support in the form of dryers, pavilion and tarpaulins would help improve the quality of parboil rice produce to access markets and better prices for members.
Madam Benedicta Naab, Chairperson of the Association, made the appeal at a two-day rice parboiling techniques training workshop organised for 35 women representatives from five rice parboiler groups in Wa.
The women were drawn from Wa Municipal, Wa East and Wa West Districts with facilitators coming from rice parboiling groups from Navrongo in the Upper East Region.
The European Union and German Government funded the programme with GIZ and the Market Oriented Agriculture Programme (MOAP) in North West in collaboration with the Regional Agriculture Department, organised the workshop to add value along the rice value chain development.
Madam Naab bemoaned the poor quality of parboiled rice products in the region and attributed it to the lack of modern machines and equipment and effective parboiling technique, which resulted in poor quality products.
She explained that with the provision of skills and techniques acquired from the workshop, the cost of production would still remain high and difficult for parboilers to increase profit levels due the influx of foreign rice products in the market, without equipment.
The association urged government to consider providing free ferilizers to rice farmers to boost rice production and encourage local consumption, as it had become staple food for many households in the communities.
Madam Naab also appealed to the government to provide soft loans to members of the association to expand their businesses, and provide means of transport for the association to haul paddy rice from the hinterlands andwarehouses.
She indicated their willingness to go into large-scale rice production next year to complement the produce they buy from other farmers and pleaded with the government and other benevolent organisations to support them with tractors and other equipment to execute their plan.
Madam Henrietta Abaah, the lead facilitator, gave the assurance that the new technology provided members of the association would help them to produce quality products for the markets and urged the MOAP to supply the association with vessels and other equipment to parboil paddy rice to reduce cost on firewood, time and other unexpected challenges.