The government of Ghana through the Agriculture Ministry will next week finalise talks with twenty major rice importers to prioritize local brands.
The technical committee set up by the Agric Ministry last week has been meeting rice importers for them to purchase Ghanaian produce rice.
Press secretary for the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Alhassan Issah said the importers have assured them of complying with their request.
"I can confirm, the meeting last week and this week has been very successful they are really giving us their commitment to comply with the request, making sure they buy from local producers but we going to step up preparations next week and that's where we are going to bring in the financial institutions, Ministry of Finance will be represented so that we can step up the arrangement and then we take it from there, next Wednesday we are going back to the table with all the parties involved and we will take the conversation further where we will know exactly the Modus Operandi of the agreement..."
Minister of Food and Agriculture, Owusu Afriyie Akoto this week disclosed that the importation of rice will reduce drastically in about three years’ time as the government builds the capacity of local rice farmers.
“At the moment, we are in communication with the 20 biggest importers of rice in this country. We have had three meetings with them and we are telling them that, time is going to come soon when they cannot do business and give rice farmers in Thailand, Vietnam, and America an opportunity to overcome our own. Our farmers were asleep because of the lack of government support. Therefore, it means that if you want to import rice into this country, it means that you are taking away bread from the mouths of Ghanaian farmers and giving it to those in Thailand. What we are now saying is that, in two or three years’ time, we will work out on an agreement for them to buy from local millers.”
Rice producers in Ghana continue to struggle to break even as the country’s rice import increases annually.
In some parts of the Northern and Upper East Regions, local farmers are losing their investments due to the lack of a ready market for their produce.
The cost of production for local farmers is often very high with less support from the government.