GHANA – Rice farmers in Ghana have appealed to the government to encourage the use of local rice for school feeding programs as a measure to reduce the marketing challenges and post-harvest losses currently facing them.

According to them, the country has abundant production but farmers, particularly in Adansi South, keep pilling rice due to lack of markets.

Speaking to Ghana News Agency, Mr Francis Bartsa Tetteh, a large-scale rice farmer said that the situation if not tackled immediately, could create serious problems for the farmers.

Currently, he noted, there are over 22,500 metric tonnes of paddy rice stacked at the various rice mill factories in the district waiting for buyers.

 “Lack of marketing for our produce is disheartening to us as farmers. The rice is here in abundance but where are the buyers? This is discouraging the youth from taking up farming,” he lamented

Adansi South is one of the leading rice-producing districts in the Ashanti, but the lack of adequate infrastructure to process, store, and market the produce has been a serious challenge for the farmers.

Mr Tetteh, who is also the owner of Victory Foods Rice Mill at Adansi Atobiase, said even though the price of the local rice was cheaper, people were still not coming to buy them.

He stressed the need for the government to discourage the importation of rice into the country to help the local producers.

Mr Tetteh pointed out that the school feeding secretariat and the Free Senior High School secretariat could be of immense help if they instructed food suppliers to buy only local rice.

This would also help encourage the farmers to continue to increase production and improve their incomes.

Mr Alfred David Mensah, Adansi South District Director of Food and Agriculture, said marketing of the produced local rice had over the years been the headache for farmers in the area.

He said the hotels and restaurants had a duty to support the local rice producers by buying the local rice.

Mr Mensah pointed out that the production processes, packaging, and storage of local rice had improved significantly over the years, and it was important for Ghanaians to patronize them to encourage the farmers to continue to produce more.

He, however, assured that the ministry was working to position the local rice well on the Ghanaian market and reduce the import of the product into the country.

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